NEWS that Bradford has been awarded £135,000 to tackle the city’s quad bike menace has been welcomed, but one Councillor says it is just a “sticking plaster.”

Bradford Council has been awarded funding from the Home Office to introduce a range of measures to crack down on nuisance motorbike and quadbike riders – including blocking off areas popular with anti-social riders, enforcement action in areas of the district and education.

There will also be a push to tackle anti-social behaviour in Eccleshill.

West Yorkshire was awarded a £518,000 pot of funding following a successful bid for the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund to reduce anti-social quad and motorbike use.

In the past year, more than 1,300 motorbike or quad-related crimes have been reported to police in Bradford.

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Bradford’s share of the cash will be used to “educate young people on anti-social behaviour, restrict access to hotspots and engage perpetrators in restorative work to help them understand the impact of their behaviour".

It will see Neighbourhood Policing Teams hold days of action “targeting areas which have been particular hotspots for nuisance motorcycle and quad bike activity".

The OnTrak Community Initiative intervention programme will provide sessions for up to 12 young people who have been linked to anti-social use of motor and quad bikes. It will cover gun and knife crime, the dangers of riding motorbikes, county lines, domestic violence and grooming.

Ten local practitioners will be trained to run restorative sessions with young people to help them understand the impact of their actions.

A separate anti-social behaviour action will be focused on the Eccleshill ward to tackle problems in the area, with an experienced anti-social behaviour officer focusing on working with local agencies to collect intelligence to take appropriate enforcement action.

Work will be carried out to restrict access to six open space locations across the district to prevent quads and bikes from getting on to parks and green areas – although police are not yet disclosing which six areas will be targeted.

The programme will be managed by the District Steerside Board.

Councillor Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “We have had 1,365 motorcycle or quad bike-related crimes over the past 12 months across the district, and these are just the ones that have been reported, so we acknowledge there is a need to step up action.

“We hope a combination of enforcement and education will make a significant difference.”

Chief Superintendent Rob McCoubrey, District Commander of Bradford Police, said work will start “in the coming weeks”.

He added: “In the long term we will only be able to reduce this if we can change attitudes and behaviours of riders and this is where education is key.”

Councillor Angela Tait (Lab) represents the Royds ward, which has one of the highest levels of reported anti-social quad use.

She said: “If you look at the list of reports of anti-social behaviour Councillors get, it is almost all quad bikes or motorbikes. It is all year round.

“People can report that someone is riding a bike, but by the time they arrive they have scarpered. We need people to report where these riders are keeping their bikes.”

Councillor Brendan Stubbs (Lib Dem) recently issued a “call for action” for more to be done in his ward of Eccleshill, which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Councillor Brendan StubbsCouncillor Brendan Stubbs

He said previous measures to tackle the issue haven’t worked, adding: “Eccleshill still is top of the league for anti-social behaviour. There is no relief from quad bikes. Even since Operation Steerside started there hasn’t been much difference.

“You can’t walk down Ravenscliffe Avenue for more than an hour without having someone on a quad bike tear past you.

“It is incredibly pleasing to see we have got some money to tackle the problem, but I’m not sure its enough.

“The solution isn’t to block somewhere off and hope they go away. They will find somewhere else to go or ride on footpaths.

“People tell me they are afraid to go out on an evening because of anti-social behaviour – it is taking a constant toll on their mental health. People have said that it is so bad they’d move if they could.

“Blocking off areas would give some relief, but it is not a long-term solution. Some spaces will be brownfield sites waiting for development. We need to get these sites developed, and more people using the green sites like woods. It is harder to get away with anti-social behaviour when more people are using a space. We have to look at how we are encouraging more people to use these sites so they don’t fall prey to anti-social behaviour.

“This funding is a good sticking plaster, it might buy us some time to think about how we make changes that have a longer term benefit for our residents.”

He added: “There are probably about a dozen people who probably need to be taken through the court process.

“There are probably another 100 or so who just need a bit of support to stop them becoming one of those 12 in the future.

“We need to work out how we turn the lives of these 12/13 year olds around.”