Yvette Cooper champions new policing hub to tackle crime in Castleford

The shadow home secretary has opened a “first of its kind” policing hub in Castleford for members of the public seeking help with antisocial behaviour.

Yvette Cooper yesterday met with officers and councillors as part of the partnership between Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police.

It comes after the Labour frontbencher set out plans to “restore neighbourhood policing” at Labour Party conference in Liverpool earlier this week.

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She told The Yorkshire Post: “Castleford town centre like many right across Yorkshire has been hit by rising shoplifting, criminal damage and antisocial behaviour.

Yvette Cooper meets officers in CastlefordYvette Cooper meets officers in Castleford
Yvette Cooper meets officers in Castleford

“This is happening right across the country. I’ve been arguing strongly to get more neighbourhood police back into Castleford town centre, because in West Yorkshire our neighbourhood policing has been halved since 2010.”

She said that getting more police and PCSOs into the town centre has made a difference through a reduction in shoplifting and in antisocial behaviour.

“It shows that neighbourhood policing works in town centres but we need it in far more places as well.”

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Residents and business owners can visit the hub between 10am and 12pm, Monday to Saturday, to report a crime or seek advice from the police and council teams.

Environment and enforcement officers, along with anti-social behaviour teams will be dropping in regularly to listen to people’s concerns and offer support.

The space will also be available for use by other organisations, such as West Yorkshire Fire, Rescue Service and Wakefield District Housing and Wakefield street marshall.

“We've got that policing presence in town, to give shoppers reassurance and to work with local shop owners as well.

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“Our town centres should be the very heart of our communities, but too often right across the country, they're not because people are left feeling unsafe because they just don't have the police.

“Nationally, that's why we've set out plans for 13,000 more police and PCSOs including guaranteed town centre patrols in order to restore our town centres to be the beating heart of communities again.”

It comes after Labour announced a new “tough love” youth programme to tackle knife crime, youth violence and address the crisis in young people’s mental health at the party’s conference earlier this week.

Young Futures, a new cross-government national programme aimed at “giving Britain’s young people the best start in life”, would look to work with young people most at risk of being drawn into violent crime.

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This is part of the party’s goal to halve knife crime and youth violence in a decade.

Ms Cooper said during her speech in Liverpool: “We need urgent interventions to stop young people getting drawn into crime or exploitation in the first place.

“For too long, teenagers have been pushed from pillar to post between local authorities, mental health services, the police and youth offending teams.

“And for those who repeatedly cause trouble in their community or are found carrying knives, there also need to be stronger interventions and clear consequences to stop their behaviour escalating and to keep other young people safe.

“A Labour Government will give young people their future back.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​