Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Review asks ‘can Leeds tackle anti-social behaviour better’?

A city-wide partnership has been established to review the way anti-social behaviour is tackled in Leeds.

Over the 18 months up to September last year, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police received more than 84,000 anti-social behaviour related calls.

By talking extensively to people on the frontline and those who receive help from the service, it is hoped the review by of the council, police and housing providers will attempt to identify and respond to, any issues with the way anti-social behaviour is currently dealt with in Leeds – from initial complaint to the first response to the investigation.

The aim is to improve the way such behaviour is dealt with, ensuring that victims are appropriately and adequately supported while perpetrators are given the opportunity to change their behaviour for the better.

Work already carried out by the review team has identified some key issues, including concerns around how joined-up approaches to tackling anti-social behaviour are, and how well agencies communicate with each other and those who use the service.

The review is being conducted using a nationally-recognised service improvement process tool that has been successfully used by a number of police authorities throughout the country to improve services to customers. The review will be overseen by a governance board comprising senior managers from both the council and West Yorkshire Police.

As well as looking at sample cases, mapping data, service level agreements, protocols and the multitude of forms in use to document and refer matters relating to anti-social behaviour. The review team visit local neighbourhood forums and meetings to canvas the views of local residents.

Anyone wanting to put forward suggestions to the review team can do so by contacting the review team on 01924 292888 (answer machine).

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of the Safer Leeds partnership, said:
“My reason for initiating this review is that I believe anti-social behaviour blights communities and can make people’s lives a misery.
“It’s important that we constantly review and examine how we deal with complaints about such behaviour so that we minimise the distress caused to victims and make sure we bring the right people to account.
“By working together with the police and other agencies, we can make sure that we have a better and more consistent approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour.”

Harvinder Saimbhi, Public Safety Manager from Leeds City Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Team, said:
“We welcome the review because it’s important not to become complacent.
“No one agency can deal with anti-social behaviour, so it’s vital that we ensure that all services work together to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: kids dig deep for allotment project

A band of community-minded youngsters are taking up tools and digging in to support an allotment project in east Leeds.

East North East Homes Leeds’s Junior Wardens are joining forces with 1st Cross Gates Guides to take part in the ‘DIG IN’ allotment project this Thursday (15 April).

**************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ****************

What: Junior Wardens ‘dig in’ to help allotment scheme
Where: Cross Gates Primary School, Poole Crescent, Leeds LS15 7NB
When: Thursday 15th April from 9:30am to 2:30pm
Details: If you plan to attend, please call 07792758066. There will be direction signs on the day.

Run by East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), which manages and maintains council homes on behalf of Leeds City Council, the Junior Wardens scheme encourages its members to help improve their communities and set a great example to other young people.

They will be working with ENEHL partners Colour Copy and Resource Print Solution and family and friends of the wardens and the Guides to prepare the ground and plant vegetables at the primary school.

The ‘DIG IN’ project is a Junior Wardens allotment project that aims to involve Cross Gates pupils in planting, growing and eating their own healthy foods.

The Junior Wardens project has been running for five months and has gone from strength to strength in the school with pupils anxiously waiting for the new scheme to start. This part of the project will help pupils; staff and the local community enjoy their local environment, build their physical and mental well being and develop their gardening skills.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“This is a great scheme to encourage community involvement at a very young age.
“It is important to counteract the negative image many people have about youths today and the Junior Wardens are living proof of how young people can play a positive role in their communities.”

Alison Pearce, Partnership Development Officer and Junior Wardens leader, said:
“We are going to have great fun preparing the soil and the children are keen to learn more about planting, growing and eating the fruits of their hard work and that is what ‘DIG IN’ is all about. “

Notes for editors:
East North East Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.

East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

About Junior Wardens
The junior wardens have three basic rules:
1. Junior Wardens will have respect for themselves and will show this through their behaviour
2. Junior Wardens will have respect for others
3. Junior Wardens will have respect for their environment.

Working with ENEHL, the new recruits will get involved in practical projects such as litter picks, as well as having the chance to meet other members of their communities to better understand and appreciate how people get along. They will also be able to act as extra eyes and ears for the community by spotting where graffiti or fly-tipping has appeared, reporting broken streetlamps and spreading safety messages among their peers.

All the Junior Wardens are Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, 9 – 11 year olds, at Cross Gates Primary School on Poole Crescent. They will all remain Junior Wardens for one year. Each group is helped by ENEHL’s Community Involvement team.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Noisy neighbour who shook the walls handed fine in court

A woman who played music so loud that it could be heard down the street and made her neighbour’s flat physically shake has been fined.

Catherine Collopy of 39 Ainsty Road, Wetherby, was not in Leeds Magistrate's Court on Thursday when she was fined £350 and ordered to pay costs of £624, plus a Victim Surcharge of £15. She had not entered any plea.

Ms Collopy – also formerly known as Anne McKenna – lives in a block of four flats owned by Leeds City Council and managed by East North East Homes Leeds.

Complaints were first received in July 2008 about loud music and the banging of doors, which caused a neighbour lost sleep and objects in their flat to vibrate. Leeds City Council’s environmental action and anti-social behaviour teams, along with East North East Homes Leeds, attempted to work with both parties over a number of months to resolve the problem of excessive noise, but to no avail.

Ms Collopy was served with a noise abatement notice in December 2008, requiring her to stop the noise nuisance caused by “impact sound, amplified sound and raised voices”.

However, on the evening of 14 May 2009 when officers from the council's Out of Hours Noise Service arrived to visit the flats they heard loud music in the street some 20 metres from the property. The music was so loud that the structure of the neighbouring flat vibrated.

This was a breach of the noise abatement notice and two further breaches were witnessed on 9 and 11 June last year.

An application was made to Leeds Magistrate's Court for a warrant to seize noise-making equipment from the flat. The warrant was granted and in June last year, council and police officers entered the property and removed televisions, a computer. a stereo system, DVDs and CDs.

At last Thursday’s hearing, a Forfeiture Order was also made which will permanently deprive Ms Collopy of the items seized.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We take noise nuisance very seriously and worked with all people involved in this case to try and address the problem but clearly harsher measures were needed.
“Hopefully this sends a clear message that people need to be considerate to their neighbours.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Come and taste your way around Leeds

Samples of food from around the world will be on offer this week as Leeds residents are invited to 'taste their way around Leeds'.

Volunteers from community groups across the city will be available to answer questions about food from different cultures at an event at the Leeds Central Library on Thursday, 15 April, 2 - 4pm. Everyone is welcome to drop-in to try the Chinese, Irish, South Asian, traditional Yorkshire, Polish, African-Caribbean and Jewish fayre on offer. People are also encouraged to bring along their all-time favourite recipes from around the world, which have the chance of being published in a specially compiled recipe book.

There are lots of other things going on including a display of food related items provided by Leeds City Museum and the chance to borrow cookery books from the library. Children will be kept entertained with fun activities and a quiz, whilst storyteller Matthew Bellwood will keep both young and old captivated with food themed stories at 2.30 and 3.30pm.

The event has been organised as part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, and there will also be an opportunity for people to find out how they can get involved in volunteering themselves.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:

“This event is a great showcase for some of our many community groups, and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to come along and sample some tasters of wide range of foods that can be found in our multi-cultural city.

“Many of our community groups depend on volunteers to carry out the valuable work that they do, and we hope that events such as this and the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering will encourage more people to get involved in activities in their communities and help to improve the quality of life for local residents.”


Additional info

For more information about volunteering opportunities you can also call into Volunteer Centre Leeds, 12b St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2LE, telephone 0113 395 0405 – open Mondays to Thursdays 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website www.leedsyearofvolunteering.org.uk

Organisations who have volunteering opportunities can get information on how to register via the website or by contacting Volunteer Centre Leeds.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk