The Safer Dewsbury multi-agency team was created in February 2020 when the Dewsbury Blueprint was launched. It's purpose is to coordinate all available resources to address the problems in the town centre identified by the community.
The community has clearly identified that fear, usually of groups of men, often drinkers, drug dealers and users gathered in the town centre or side streets is putting many women off from visiting the town. This problem is common to many towns but dealing with it in order to create a safe, family environment has been recognised as the top priority if we are to revive activity in the town centre.
The Public Space Protection Order covering all the town centre within the ring road has therefore been renewed with additional powers for council officers as well as the police. To communicate the message new signage has gone up at entry point to the town centre and around Market Place where much of the problem is reported.
The council is therefore funding 2 additional police constables who are specifically dedicated to working in the town centre plus two new Public Space Protection Officers to enforce the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that exists within the ring road and forbids street drinking and other offensive or dangerous activities.
Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Initiative
A Rough Sleepers team was created in 2019 and since then has developed methods to ensure that they have both the evidence and the solutions to ensure that the council knows what is happening on the streets, particularly to target difficult to reach clients. The team includes specialist services to deal with substance abuse and a Social Worker.
The Rough Sleeping team work in partnership with community groups and other agencies and check the streets a minimum of 4 days every week both early morning and late evening to ensure that they are aware of everyone on the streets who is either vulnerable or in need.
The Covid epidemic has provided an added encouragement for those in need to use the accommodation provided and as at July 2021 there are no rough sleepers in Dewsbury. There has been a slight increase of new arrivals who appeared on the streets recently but these have all been provided with wrap-around support and are no longer rough sleeping.
The Rough Sleeping team meets with other agencies and shares information regularly with partners so they can be confident in the information we have available. Other council officers dealing with begging and youth anti-social behaviour are also active in town on a regular basis.
The Rough Sleepers team also work with officers within the prisons and hospitals in the area. This enables the team to be proactive to ensure that individuals rejoining the community are provided with every support possible to ensure they do not start rough sleeping.
Youth Anti-Social Behaviour
The Youth Outreach Team are present at known trouble spots in the town centre usually three days per week in order to engage better with key individuals and connect them to social care and early support systems.
Reports of negative activity of all kinds and from all sources is compiled to create an intelligence report to identify the locations and periods when Safer Dewsbury team resources can most effectively be used. Priorities and resource allocations change as various types of anti-social behaviour changes.
Regular follow up
The team meets every 3 months with updated information on problems and adjusts the priorities for the coming months. While the whole year of 2020 has been disrupted by changes due to Covid we are seeing a gradual improvement in the town centre.
May 15, 2021