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New ‘gangbo’ orders have ‘slashed’ number of violence and arson cases
Court orders against gang members have dramatically cut violence and arson attacks on the streets of Keighley.
Neighbourhood Policing Team inspector Tony Reid has revealed last winter’s ‘gangbos’ have greatly improved public safety.
County court injunctions have disrupted gang members’ ability to communicate with each other or gather in public.
And Insp Reid pledged action will continue to ensure the men – in their late teens and early 20s – abide by the two-year orders.
He said: “Issues that happened in Highfield, with mass brawls, cars being torched and overt public violence – that just hasn’t happened this year.
“Some of the tensions between groups may still exist, but people are feeling safer. We have the main offenders under control – now we have to tackle the things that get young people into gangs.”
The success has also been welcomed by Keighley MP Kris Hopkins and district councillors, whose wards include the gangs’ Highfield heartland.
Mr Hopkins described the gang members as “moronic”, and praised police for their great professionalism in tackling the violence.
He said: “The measures have had a positive impact in dealing with these unruly and rather pathetic individuals, who seek to spread fear and division in our community.”
Keighley Central councillor Abid Hussain said police had done an excellent job in sorting problems, such as fighting in the street.
He added: “I think it’s been a great help and there’s been no trouble since. We want a peaceful community.”
Injunctions were served last February and March on 12 men from two Keighley gangs – the Jamaati and Up Enders. Conditions include not having more than one passenger in a car, not being together in public and limits on how much flammable liquid they can store outside their homes.
Bradford Youth Service is running special activities for young people regarded as ‘vulnerable’ to the influence of gang cultures.
Inspector Reid said such teenagers might already be involved in activities, such as drug dealing or anti-social behaviour.
Gangbos were the first of several initiatives spearheaded by the Safer Keighley partnership, which brings together police, Bradford Council, politicians and other local agencies.
The organisation was set up following last year’s demonstration in Keighley by the English Defence League, which heightened racial tensions in the town.
Jonathan Hayes, Bradford Council’s Keighley area co-ordinator, said the gangbos were the “hard edge of enforcement”, and are coupled with softer initiatives that brought neighbourhoods together and got people actively involved in their communities.
He added: “We’re building a network of key contacts in the communities – people we know have some influence and are trusted.
“Safer Keighley is also about environmental issues, bringing parents together across cultural barriers, working with schools and young people and developing general neighbourliness.”
Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, who represents Keighley Central ward, said he welcomed any initiative that kept Keighley at peace.
But he said injunctions should always be a last resort, following efforts to bring the police and community together.
He added: “I would rather go for more mediation and dialogue and try to get people to work together to solve problems.”
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