Kirklees Council has funded the positions of five police officers to work across Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Centres.
The council has also contributed towards a police sergeant position, who will manage the ‘Multi-agency town centre enforcement team’.
The new team is made up of the five police officers and four ‘Local Authority Enforcement Officers’.
The appointments, which started on July 1, are part of the council’s 10-year Blueprint plan to create a thriving, modern-day town centre. The addition of the multi-agency town centre team will support ongoing policing initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime in town centres in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
The team will be designated to a particular area of the town centres and their visible presence aims to reduce crime, protect the vulnerable and increase residents and visitors satisfaction.
The team will also have a key focus on building relationships with town centre businesses so that they can provide the right support and increase confidence for business owners operating in both Huddersfield and Dewsbury.
Councillor Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said: “Anyone who lives, works, studies, or visits Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Centres should feel safe and be safe.
“I’m confident that the introduction of the multi-agency town centre enforcement team will help us to create vibrant and prosperous town centres that have a reputation for being welcoming and safe. I believe visible community policing will provide confidence to residents and business owners that anti-social behaviour and theft will not be tolerated.
“I look forward to welcoming the town centre team and working with them and Safer Kirklees to resolve immediate issues and long-term problem solving so that everyone can be proud of our historic town centres.”
Chief Superintendent Julie Sykes, District Commander of Kirklees Police, said: “This significant new investment in policing in Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres by Kirklees Council, through Safer Kirklees, is clearly excellent news and will benefit communities and traders.
“The police officers and local authority enforcement officers will work alongside the existing town centre PCSO’s in Dewsbury and Huddersfield to provide enhanced police and local authority warden presence, deter criminals and problem solve issues such as retail crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
“Their presence will help build on initiatives already underway by our neighbourhood policing teams and West Yorkshire Police colleagues, such as Operation Jemlock, to reduce crime in town centres.
“These have included numerous high visibility operations by the Huddersfield NPT with Safer Kirklees to tackle drug crime, knife crime and ASB over the past twelve months producing significant drops in offending such as retail crime.
“We recognise that traders and shoppers need to town centres to be safe and inviting places to work and shop in, and are fully committed to council’s ten-year plan to bring investment into Huddersfield and Dewsbury.”
Councillor Peter Mcbride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Our Blueprint plan has been developed in consultation with local people and businesses who highlighted the significance of town centre safety as a priority. That’s why we are investing in the multi-agency town centre enforcement team who will provide vital reassurance to residents, visitors and local businesses that our town centres are exceptional places to live and work.
“I’m hugely encouraged that the team will be active in time to help us through our recovery journey from the coronavirus outbreak but also that they will be with us through the regeneration of our town centres. This is another significant milestone which highlights our commitment as a council to delivering on our Blueprint vision.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “It’s good to see these additional resources being targeted locally to addressing community safety issues which I really welcome, and complements the annual grant funding I provide to Kirklees each year for partnership working. I am sure this initiative will help to keep the town centres safe and feeling safe as part of a wider picture of increased recruitment across Kirklees and the whole of West Yorkshire during a time of ongoing challenge for the whole of society.”