Assault, robbery and criminal damage at parks in Calderdale

Assault, robbery and criminal damage are some of the crimes that have been recorded in Calderdale's parks in the last four years.

In total, 163 crimes have been recorded in parks across the borough since 2014, with the annual figure more than doubling from 22 in 2014 to 50 last year.

Centre Vale Park in Todmorden has the worst crime rate, with 54 offences recorded there since 2014.

People’s Park in Halifax had 29 crimes, and Calder Holmes Park in Hebden Bridge had 26.

The most common crime is assault, which as happened 62 times, but other offences include criminal damage, sexual offences, theft, arson and robbery.

A woman was sexually assaulted in Shroggs Park in 2016, while the changing rooms in Centre Vale Park were badly damaged after a fire in the same year.

Coun Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, said: “We want to reassure local people that, as part of Calderdale’s Community Safety Partnership, we do everything we can to make our whole borough safe.

“We have recently introduced an extra 15 community safety wardens who are patrolling throughout Calderdale, including our parks, to provide a more visible presence in local areas to help people feel safer. They help reduce crime and the fear of crime; they talk to residents, businesses and local groups; feed back any concerns and take enforcement action where appropriate.

“All of our parks and public open spaces are protected by Public Space Protection Orders, which prevent alcohol and dog-related offences and can be enforced by a wide range of Council officers in support of local policing teams.

“We are proud of our popular, award-winning parks, which reflect Calderdale’s unique landscape and rich heritage, and we’re keen to assure people that they are great places to enjoy. If anyone has concerns about any issues in their local park, we would always encourage them to get in touch with the Council to enable the appropriate action to be taken.”

Chief Inspector Gareth Crossley, lead for Neighbourhood Policing and Partnerships in the Calderdale District, said: “Firstly I would like to reassure residents of Calderdale that the numbers of recorded incidents in parks remains very low.

“The headline figures may understandably cause concern amongst our communities but need to be taken in context.

“While the increase in percentage terms may seem significant, in reality we are only looking at an actual increase of 28 recorded incidents over four years.

“We see thousands of people visiting the 237 parks and green spaces in the district every year, and although the number of reports has increased, this is still only an average of one incident recorded every nine days.

“Much of the increase is down to our ongoing work to improve our recording practices within West Yorkshire, with the risk of becoming a victim of crime being low.

“The changes to our neighbourhood teams will see our officers continuing to work closely with our partners Calderdale Council in the Safer Cleaner Greener areas. They are also now supported by the additional Council Wardens, further bolstering our visible presence in the district to reassure the public.

“Our parks and open spaces are fantastic community areas for people to meet and socialise with their friends and family. These isolated incidents should not deter people from utilising these community resources.

“We continue to work closely with the Community Safety Partnership to make the district a safe place to live, work and bring up families and will deal with any incidents occurring in our parks and green spaces swiftly and robustly.”

Recorded crimes at Calderdale parks:

Centre Vale Park - 54

People’s Park - 29

Calder Holmes Park - 26

Shibden Park - 13

Wellholme Park - 13

Savile Park - 7

Ovenden Park - 7

Crow Wood Park - 5

Akroyd Park - 4

Shaw Park - 2

Shroggs Park - 1

Shelf Hall Park - 1

Rydings Park - 1

Manor Heath Park - 0

West View Park - 0

Allan Park - 0

Ogden Water Country Park - 0

Wellesley Park - 0

Ravensprings Park - 0