Police have been slammed for failing to deal with gangs of youths whose loud, abusive and intimidating antics are blighting a town centre.
But local officers have responded saying they cannot be there 24 hours a day – and are calling on the public’s help in reporting the hoodlums.
A reader who emailed the Guardian claimed PCSOs were not stopping groups who were drinking and allegedly smoking drugs in the Memorial Park area of Cleckheaton.
She said: “I have witnessed elderly people and parents having to walk in the road to go around them as they are taking over pavements. These children are ruining their quality of life and ours. They are loud, abusive, intimidating and a pest full stop.”
But Spen’s Safer Neighbourhood Team coordinator Martyn Lee said: “We patrol the area daily. We need more accurate information with which to act on. If people think the police have been vague and somewhat inaccurate, then part of the reason is that we can only work on what we receive – we cannot be there 24/seven. We need to know what’s happening, where it’s happening, at what times and, if possible, who’s involved. That makes the process quicker.
“There’s a big disproportion in the number of people who are complaining to the media and to local councillors than to the police.”
Police budgets had faced cuts of 48 per cent, he added.
Upto 10 ringleaders have been issued with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts – a written agreement excluding them from certain areas. If these are breached, legally-binding ASBOs could be imposed.
Coun John Lawson (Cleckheaton)said: “Having seen some of the figures crime overall is very low in Cleckheaton, as far as reporting it goes.”