TWO Bradford councillors are trying to convince businesses to invest in Bradford after they claim that the "high crime rate" is causing reluctance from some firms to invest in the area.

Cllr Zafar Iqbal (Lab, Bradford Moor) said: "There are many people who love our district and want to invest in our ward which is good and welcoming news. When people invest in our area this provide local jobs for local people and helps our economy.

Cllr Iqbal said: "People are hesitant about opening businesses and keep asking about level of crime in the area.

"We've been working hard to bring businesses in," said Cllr Iqbal. "Because the crime rate is so high businesses have told me that they would be reluctant to invest in Bradford.

"Reality is reality and this is a difficult conversation to have.

"I've had conversations with various businesses and before the pandemic we'd invite businesses to our meetings in City Hall to address these concerns.

"These investors often tell me 'We can open the businesses but if we can't get the customers in, how can we survive'?

"They can be afraid to come to certain areas that are hotspots for crime.

"And you can find hotspots everywhere in the district.

"But we want to promote the whole of the district as a place where businesses can invest in.

"We need the employment. People are losing their jobs.

"Until we get the crime rate down, we can't move forward."

He did say that one business, who had been reluctant to come to the Bradford East constituency area, the Asian supermarket Al Halal, is now moving into the former Halford's site on Leeds Road in Thornbury.

Cllr Iqbal said he was hoping that Al Halal would be able to open in a few weeks.

Cllr Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor) said: "I welcome the news that people would like to open from small to large businesses in our area which is encouraging.

Cllr Shafiq added: "Any new businesses opening in our ward are welcome and as council we will provide as much support, guidance to businesses to thrive and provide opportunities for local employment."

Cllr Shafiq said that he echoes the views of Cllr Iqbal and he said "by working together we can make our district a great place to invest, live and work in".

Cllr Iqbal said he would like police to take more measures in tackling the crimes in the area and make communities feel safer.

He said: "I would like to ask that there are more resources made available for policing for Bradford East area where families feel safer and investors feels confident in investing in our areas.

"I will make this as a priority and raise my concerns with police about level of crime in the Bradford East constituency. "

Figures obtained by Cllr Iqbal suggest that in the last year 853 drug-related crimes had been reported in the Bradford East area, more than other constituency in the district.

But West Yorkshire Police say they have been working to tackle crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Farrell, of Bradford District Police, said: “There is a significant amount of proactive work ongoing across the Bradford district over the past few years to tackle serious and organised crime, which is often linked to drug supply and trafficking in communities.

“NPT teams work alongside detectives and specialist officers in the Programme Precision team to tackle these crimes. Detection of a lot of drugs offences is reliant on proactive operations conducted by police officers, as well as working on intelligence give to the police by the community."