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Crackdown On Anti-Social Drivers In Bradford Approved

The proposals had gone out to public consultation last year - 70 per cent said they felt unsafe on Bradford’s roads.

New powers to help tackle anti-social driving in the district have been approved, although one councillor described the measures as “virtue signalling” and unlikely to make much difference.

The new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will allow police and Bradford Council officers to issue penalties to motorists for a range of anti-social, if not illegal, acts. These would include playing loud music or revving engines, shouting obscenities or harassing people from their cars, or taking part in “car cruising events”.

The Council had proposed the new order to tackle the issue of problem driving in Bradford – which is seen as one of the district’s biggest issues.

The proposals had gone out to public consultation last year, with 1,260 members of the public responding.

Of those, 76 per cent supported the proposals, and 70 per cent said they felt unsafe on Bradford’s roads.

The plans went before Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee today, where members were asked to discuss the consultation and approve the order.

They were told that the order was just one tool to tackle problem driving in the district, and dangerous driving such as speeding would still have to be tackled by police.

The plan had also been backed by Keighley MP John Grogan and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson – both of which highlighted the impact of dangerous driving in the district.

At the meeting Councillor Simon Cooke (Con, Bingley Rural) questioned whether the order would actually tackle the major issue of “danger driving” adding: “Is there the justification of making criminal what wasn’t criminal before? What we seem to have is a bit of virtue signalling, so we are seen to be doing something about the problem. But it doesn’t really address the problem to any great extent.”

He also questioned how it would be decided if someone was acting in an anti-social manner, adding: “If there are any two cars parked anywhere are we giving officers carte blanche to decide they’re anti-social? It seems a bit draconian.

“When it comes to music being played too loud is there not a risk that personal music preference may decide if music being played is ‘good or bad’?”

He was told that officers would be given training before the order came into play, and they would be aware that any ticket could be challenged.

Chief Inspector Michael Rutter, of Bradford District Police, said: “We have other measures like Operation Steerside which have been very successful, this will help us fill in the gaps that that operation doesn’t reach.”

He said it would make it easier for police and the Council to act on dashcam footage of anti-social driving.

The committee voted to approve the order, although Cllr Cooke voted against it. It will be subject to a review in one year’s time. Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: “I will want to review the benefits and potential harm. I will want comfort that this hasn’t been damaging civil liberties.”

Mr Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I support the step that Bradford Council have approved in the use of Public Space Protection Orders, a move which I believe will help to tackle a number of anti-social behaviour and road safety related issues.

“Road safety is clearly a significant area of interest in Bradford and for many communities across the county and remains a key focus in my Police and Crime Plan. The PSPO will complement the significant work already undertaken by West Yorkshire Police, the Council and other partners in the District such as Operation Steerside which targets wider road safety offences and behaviour.”

The order is expected to be introduced in the summer.

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