GIRLS and young women are regularly heckled and “overly sexualised” by older men in areas of Bradford city centre, councillors have been told.

And teenage boys also feel too intimidated to enter some areas due to older boys “smoking weed and vapes".

These were some of the findings of a review into anti-social behaviour in the district by a panel of councillors.

The review recommends better lighting and increased police patrols in areas of the city, as well as clearer information on how people can report anti-social behaviour.

The report was discussed at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee last month, where one councillor argued that the blame for anti-social behaviour should not solely lie with young people – as the “lion's share” was carried out by adults.

Members of the committee had met with groups including young women and young men to get to the bottom of the causes and impact of anti-social behaviour.

When it came to young women, the report said Great Horton Road and parts of City Park were areas where they often felt intimidated.

It said: “Whilst walking back from school and college, and also whilst walking to Bradford Interchange, young females stated that they were being heckled and shouted at by large groups of older males. This usually occurred in and around the law courts area.

“Young females also found it extremely intimidating, especially when individuals are driving fast and loud cars outside Bradford College.

“Young females also stressed that they did not feel comfortable to walk alone in the Bradford College area, regardless of whether it is night or day.

“Another concern raised by young females, was that older groups of females and males were smoking cannabis in Bradford city centre and City Park, as well as drunk people sitting near the subways, and near the law courts.”

It went on to say that many girls felt they were “frequently over-sexualised by males, when leaving school and college” adding: “One young person gave further details to explain that, when she ignored the inappropriate comments being shouted at her, she then suffered racial verbal abuse.”

Members were also informed by the young males that there were large numbers of Year 11 and Year 12-aged youths who smoke weed and vapes. They said this made them feel unsafe in certain areas of the city.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Young men said groups of teens vaping and smoking weed made them feel intimidatedYoung men said groups of teens vaping and smoking weed made them feel intimidated (Image: google)

The report added: “Young males felt they could not report any instances of anti-social behaviour, due to fear of reprisals.”

When speaking to adults about their experiences of anti-social behaviour, the group found the main issues were “damage against property, the inappropriate use of quad bikes, driving and parking on pavements and intimidating behaviour".

At the meeting, Councillor Brendan Stubbs (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) said: “Some of the recommendations are along the lines that more needs to be done to keep young people occupied. It is not just young people who are causing these problems. I’m concerned these recommendations only look at young people.

“Fly-tipping and misuse of vehicles are crimes by adults.”

He said another issue was that people often share concerns on WhatsApp groups or social media, but don’t officially report it.

He suggested people be given clearer information on how they can report anti-social behaviour with the confidence it will be dealt with.

And Cllr Stubbs said incidents should be referred to as crimes, not just “anti-social behaviour” adding: “People want to feel that when they report something it is being dealt with. They know they won’t get 1,000 detectives out immediately, but also they don’t want to think their complaint is just being left on a pile.”

Councillor David Green (Lab, Wibsey) said it was important that poor behaviour was dealt with, even if it did not pass the criminal threshold.

He agreed that incidents needed to be properly reported, adding: “Police aren’t monitoring every social media post on every community site across the district.”

Members were told that the safety of women and girls was a priority for West Yorkshire Police, and there was also a fresh push to cut down on anti-social driving.

Recommendations of the report include improved lighting in darker areas, an increase in presence from the police and Police Community Support Officers in areas including Great Horton Road and City Park between 4pm and 8pm, and expanding the range of activities for young people to participate in.

There should also be better links between police and youth workers to “reduce barriers between young people and police.”