From: Tom Donohoe, Customer Contact Centre Manager, West Yorkshire Police.
WEST Yorkshire Police (like most other forces) is currently experiencing unprecedented demand on the non-emergency 101 and emergency 999 numbers (The Yorkshire Post, June 25).
As a force, our priority is to protect the critical 999 service which is there for when there is an emergency and/or there is a threat to life.
Our emergency service performance remains exceptional, but this has had an impact on our 101 performance after a period of improvement.
To put into context the level of demand we are facing – on Friday, June 22, we received 1,600 calls to the 999 emergency number – that’s only 64 less than on New Year’s Eve, our busiest day of the year.
We have recruited extra call handlers, working at a pace that has never been achieved before, and have many new staff taking calls, with more to follow to get the service back to where we, and the public, wish it to be
To help with this, we ask the public not to contact us for non-police matters, and, where possible, to use our excellent on-line services, which include an option to leave a message for an officer (if you require an update on your report) and a very useful web chat facility.
We realise not everyone can use the online facilities, but for those who can our feedback is that they receive an excellent service. It also helps us to free lines up for those who cannot go on-line
Additionally, many of our calls are calls that could be avoided, so please consider “is this a police matter?”
Any specific complaints can be directed to the unit.
We are grateful for the public’s patience and support at this time.
Footpath lost in the crop
From: John Baker, Columbia Place, Sheffield.
I RECENTLY set off with a friend for a short walk that incuded a footpath I had walked once or twice before.
About 25 minutes into the walk, we were confronted with a stile into a field of chest-high rape that all but obscured the course of the path and meant a fight with the crop.
It had clearly been planted across the footpath and it was left to me to clear the path as far as I could with my insubstantial walking stick – a machete would have been more useful.
Half an hour after starting what should have been a five or 10 minute walk across the rape crop, we reached the next field boundary with no sign of a stile but instead a broken wooden fence of some antiquity topped with barbed wire.
Nevertheless, we made our way to the nearest road then continued our journey despite the heat and very little clue as to where we actually were on the map. As I am over 70 and my friend is not far behind, we were relieved to be offered a lift after a further 45 minutes of uncertainty in the intense heat of last weekend.
I feel cross with myself for not forseeing the problems caused by both the absence of signage and the deliberate ploughing-up of the footpath itself. Isn’t it time we had a clearly understood legal framework that recognises the responsibility of the landowner for maintaining any footpath running through their property so that it is passable (possible exception for the presence of a bull)?
From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.
I DO appreciate the article on Dales walking routes (The Yorkshire Post, June 25).
Over the 81 years of my life, I have walked in most of Yorkshire’s Dales and been to the top of most peaks in the national park, and so know well how many paths are “worn out”.
Anything which helps to maintain these paths is very important. I am involved, in a small way, with the British Mountaineering Council’s “Mend Our Mountains” scheme, which is raising £46,000 to repair the Bruntscar path off Whernside.
My only complaint about your good article is that you write of “kilometres”; I thought that we still measured in “miles” in Great Britain!
Facing real challenges
From: John G Davies, Alma Terrace, East Morton, Keighley.
THE UK and the West in general is facing several major challenges, including globalisation, global warming, the robotisation of work and mass migration.
Few people, beyond some Italian and Corsican village leaders, who have used migrants to repopulate their half-deserted villages, have any constructive ideas beyond building walls to keep them out.
How will we cope with the mass redundancies caused by robots? Will the capitalists who finance this “progress” share their profits with the unemployed? I doubt it, if history is anything to go by. Anyway, how will the capitalists sell their products to incomeless people?
Robots demand energy, as do many of the labour-saving devices that we use every day. This still comes from problematic fossil fuel sources, one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect.
Caravans on the Stray
From: JG Riseley, Harrogate.
FOR some days, five or six caravans have been encamped on Harrogate’s famous Stray.
As no one emerged to greet the Solstice sun I’d think the owners more likely to be of Irish or Roma origin than New Agers. I’d also guess that, had this been a single caravan occupied by (say) a retired English couple, they would have been promptly moved on and even fined.