REPORTED crime in Keighley district has dropped during the past two years despite a recent upsurge in violent incidents and anti-social behaviour, according to West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mark Burns-Williamson, who was commenting exactly two years after he was first elected to the new post, said he did not know the precise cause of recent thuggish behaviour in Bracken Bank and Ingrow plus violent attacks in Highfield and Knowle Park earlier this month.

But he added: “Clearly, this sort of thing is unacceptable, and we are committed to identifying those responsible and making sure they are dealt with properly.

“We always need to bear in mind the time of year. Incidents such as these do occur in different parts of West Yorkshire during the run-up to bonfire night, but we need to make sure these become rarer occurrences.

“Overall, crime is down in Keighley during the past two years, but there are sometimes blips where burglary or anti-social behaviour may have increased during the same period.

“There is a wider context of cuts to the police and to the youth and children’s services that we should be interested in.

“The Government does need to look again at the priority it gives to funding police and community safety so we can continue to pay for neighbourhood policing.

“I have prioritised neighbourhood policing and frontline resources during my first two years in office and I’ll continue to do that wherever possible.

“But the level of cuts being imposed will make this really difficult to maintain in future.”

Reflecting on his achievements to date, he said he has successfully focused on tackling child sex exploitation, providing increased resources to prevent domestic abuse and on reducing burglary.

He also cited the launch of the website, dedicated to helping victims and witnesses of crime, as well as ploughing more than half-a-million pounds into community organisations from the proceeds of crime.

He added: “I want to have some honest conversations about what the future holds for policing and community safety.

“The past two years have certainly not been without their challenges, the policing budget has been slashed by almost 30 per cent. This puts a significant strain on already challenged services, so it’s crucial we work better together to keep our communities safer.”