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Police meet in Keighley for double attack on crime
Technology designed to catch thieves and a new system to bring neighbourhood policing even closer to local communities were both launched at Keighley Civic Centre.
Senior police officers and the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner met at the Keighley Town Council-run premises in North Street.
Monday afternoon’s event was partly to promote and explain the Smartwater product, which can be used to uniquely identify valuables.
The forensic substance is invisible when applied to objects, but can be illuminated and identified using an ultraviolet torch.
Smartwater crime reduction adviser Kevin Drewett told the gathering: “Smartwater is very robust, and we guarantee that when it’s used externally, it will last for at least five years.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said he was particularly pleased the ill-gotten gains of criminals – taken from them under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) – is helping to fund the provision of Smartwater marking kits.
Chief constable Mark Gilmore added: “It’s great to see a local initiative, which is using very modern technology to deal with some traditional policing problems.”
Neighbourhood policing team sergeant Chris Watson said Smartwater was an ideal way of deterring stone thefts, as people can use it to mark this type of property without actually damaging it.
He added: “Householders can order kits directly from Smart-water at smartwater.tv/affinity then use the discount code KDHP25H. Alternatively, they can call 0800 521669 and quote the same code.
“If preferred, they can get a kit from one of the contact points at Haworth, Oakworth or Keighley, but stock at these locations is limited.”
The same event was used to announce a new structure for neighbourhood police teams in West Yorkshire.
Each team will now be aligned on a district council ward, so there are 30 teams instead of 12. Each ward now has a named police sergeant for local communities to speak to, but the number of officers and PCSOs has not changed.
Chief superintendent Simon Atkin, Bradford district commander, said: “Our 30 ward teams will be based in the heart of their local communities, making them more accessible to the public and allowing them to provide integrated and co-ordinated policing services designed to meet the needs of local people.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to protect the number of PCs and PCSOS in our teams for the next two years, as our communities have said this is something very important to them.”
l Worth Valley ward councillors have allocated £400 to help local households and businesses protect their property against criminals.
They have given the grant of council cash to the Worth Valley Community Contact Point, in Haworth, to buy Smartwater kits.
Coun Glen Miller said: “These kits will be invaluable in the fight against theft generally, and the stickers that come with the kits will deter many crimes, which is often better than helping to catch criminals after the act, when the damage is done.
“I’m particularly pleased about the effect this will have on a particular type of theft that has plagued our area. While we’ve heard much of metal theft in recent years, stone theft is also a widespread problem, causing massive inconvenience to local residents, charities and businesses.”
Coun Miller added he had been particularly angered by last year’s theft of flagstones from Manor-lands, which was followed by a further raid at the hospice just a few days later.
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