Increased police patrols around Castleford park after spate of anti-social behaviour

Wakefield Council has said it's proactively working on initiatives to engage with young people, following anti-social behaviour at Queens Park in Castleford.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:27 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 6:02 pm
The park has recently undergone work to install new benches, plant out the flowerbeds, improve signage and repair and clean the footpaths - but sadly, a small minority have caused damage, including setting fire to fences and have vandalised the area.

The park has recently undergone work to install new benches, plant out the flowerbeds, improve signage and repair and clean the footpaths - but sadly, a small minority have caused damage, including setting fire to fences and have vandalised the area.

The Council’s Youth Work Team are working with the Neighbourhood Policing Team, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and local academy high schools on initiatives to encourage children and young people to use parks positively and also to participate in other activities which will support their health and wellbeing.

The Neighbourhood Policing team, along with youth workers from the council, have also increased patrols in the area to help discourage anti-social behaviour and signpost young people to other support and activities available.

The council’s Youth Work Team will continue to carry out detached work in these communities with individuals and groups to reduce the risks of anti-social behaviour and support positive communities.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We have committed to invest in our parks and public spaces and will be upgrading a number of our urban parks to make them a more enjoyable place for our residents to visit – so I was really saddened to hear of the problems at Queens Park in Castleford.

“We know that the vast majority of children and young people using the park do so respectfully and it’s a shame that the actions of the few spoil the park environment for other young people as well as local adults.

“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in our district and will be reported to the police, however, we need to understand the reasons why this is happening and we’re committed to working with young people to find out what they need and how we can help so that they have positive spaces and activities to enjoy.

“We will work with partners to find out how we can improve the lives of young people in this area and across the district and work will continue to upgrade Queens Park.”

Additional works will see the bandstand restored and secured and a new play area installed, along with a trim trail. Local ward councillors are also planning to invest in CCTV from their Local Capital Grants funding to reduce the risk of future vandalism.

Sergeant Karl Miller, of the Castleford Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Anti-social behaviour and related crime can and does have a real impact on residents’ quality of life with only a small number of offences having a big impact on perceptions of crime.

“We are working with partners and local schools to identify those responsible.

“There will be increased neighbourhood patrols and police activity in the area to re-assure the community and we will take action when offences are reported.

“I want to thank residents who have provided us with information about crime and anti-social behaviour taking place in the Queen’s Park area and would encourage residents to keep getting in touch.

“Reports can be made to us direct on 101 online at www.westyorkshirepolice/co.uk/101Livechat or anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”

Donna Wagner, District Prevention Manager at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We work really hard to encourage local residents to use these parks safely so that everyone can enjoy the open spaces that Wakefield has to offer, particularly in Castleford.

“The things that have happened recently have had a huge impact on the communities around the park and also increased demand on our services. We’re committed to working with our partners to tackle the activity that has occurred recently so that the vast majority of people who live in the area who do use the park safely can continue to do so.”

The council’s cabinet will consider a report on April 13, setting out proposals for the redevelopment of Lightwaves Leisure Centre and the resources required to achieve the ambition of developing three youth support hubs across the district.

Parent and carers who are concerned about their children can get support and advice here.