This evening, the police at the Hope Street station welcomed members of the public to another of their six-weekly community meetings.
Sergeant Saxon and Inspector Norbury, together with a member of the Calderdale Antisocial Behaviour Team discussed aspects of local policing with members of the public, asking to hear their concerns, and were able to provide some very positive feedback about the progress that had been made recently.
Traditionally, due to seasonal excesses of alcohol, there is usually quite a bit of crime over the holiday period but Sgt. Saxon reported that, between the 2nd of December and the 6th of January, the number of crimes in the Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall area fell to 26 from 40 in the previous month, representing a fall of 35%, the vast majority of which led to arrests.
One particular success was the arrest of a man for burglary who had just jumped bail in Kent on armed robbery charges.
Inspector Norbury attributed the drop in crime to extra Christmas patrols, a successful awareness campaign run through Hebden Bridge Picture House, an improved CCTV system, the cold weather and the increased efficiency of Hebden's Pubwatch scheme, amongst other factors.
There were still a number of incidents of antisocial behaviour but they were confined mainly to the Fairfield and Westfield areas, rather than the town centre itself.
Hebden Bridge, together with Ryburn, now has the lowest crime rate in the whole of West Yorkshire.
One of the main issues raised by the public was the complete disregard shown by some drivers to the recent 20mph speed limit in the town, particulary, it was noted by bus and lorry drivers. Inspector Norbury agreed to the suggestion that he should write to First Bus, along with Sainsbury's and Morrisons, who were considered among the principal offenders. He also said that he would set up some temporary speed monitoring devices so the extent of the problem could be accurately gauged.
Inspector Norbury and his colleagues at Hope Street are keen to let the local community have their say about the way the town is policed and are holding open meetings every six weeks, the next being at 6.30pm on Feb 17th, at which they will jointly set three targets to achieve by the following one.