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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Police and partner agencies launch ‘CommUnity Harehills’ initiative to target organized crime in Harehills.

Police and partner agencies have joined forces for the latest instalment of a sustained campaign of action targeting serious and organised crime in Harehills.

As part of the ‘CommUnity Harehills’ project – a wide-reaching initiative based on the Home Office’s ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ tactic to improve areas blighted by organised crime – officers from the Leeds East Neighbourhood Policing Team were joined by staff from Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Licensing, West Yorkshire Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, Immigration, and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

The cannabis farm officers found
Image: West Yorkshire Police

They visited 13 commercial properties in Harehills resulting in a range of enforcement actions and significant seizures.

The two-day operation saw five people arrested, nine vehicles seized, and 25 closure warning letters issued to licensed premises. Three Community Protection Notice warning letters were also issued.

An emergency Misuse of Drugs Act warrant resulted in a cannabis farm being located, and an offensive weapon was seized.

A total of 3,129 cans of beer, 428 bottles of wine, 255 bottles of spirits, 2,230 vapes and approximately 150,000 cigarettes were also recovered during the operation.

Officers executing a drugs warrant at a cannabis farm in Harehills
Image: West Yorkshire Police

Immigration officers made two arrests and fines of potentially £20,000 were issued to the businesses involved.

The Clear, Hold, Build approach is a longer-term strategy that engages and empowers the local community so that the issues that affect their daily lives the most set the priorities for partnership action.

Through a combination of targeted enforcement and community work, the initiative sees police and partner agencies clear an area of organised criminal activity, hold that location to prevent another group from filling the void, and build resilience so the area is less susceptible to criminal groups.

Inspector Alastair Nicholls, who heads the Leeds East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The CommUnity Harehills initiative is about working collaboratively with partners to tackle organised criminality across the communities we serve, in line with concerns raised from the local community.

“These days of action demonstrates how police and partners will ruthlessly pursue and disrupt all forms of criminality which causes harm in the local community. The police will continue to work with partners to target and disrupt organised criminality to keep communities safe and feeling safe.”

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