DUE to concerns from residents about the increase of anti-social behaviour in Skipton last year, I set up a Community Safety Working Group in September 2022.

The focus of the group was to work with our local police service, fellow councillors from Skipton Town and North Yorkshire Councils, various local agencies and organisations to identify what we can do to implement short and long-term strategies to improve the safety of our town.

The group also recognises the importance of focussing on doing more to support younger people and the vulnerable within the community, therefore it was essential we recognised the necessity to provide more provisions for the youth in our community.

The group, through North Yorkshire Council, managed to obtain a Youth Bus to trial out in the town for a few weeks in the summer.

The service is run by the charity Inspire Youth Yorkshire and the bus came to the town one night a week where their focus was to build relationships and hear the voices of young people. The volunteers from the service were then able to share their opinions with myself, who also volunteered with the team during the trial period, about the future of youth provision in Skipton.

Due to the success of this trial, we have been successful in applying for funding to make this permanent and currently in discussion with Inspire Youth Yorkshire about how this will be implemented in 2024 across the town.

It's also important we as a community celebrate and promote the positives of our town, so in the Community Safety Working Group have proposed having a community event in 2024. The event will be held on Sunday May 5 at Sandylands Sports Centre in Skipton.

The event will be an opportunity for Sandylands, local organisations, charities, and our local public services to show people the integral role they play within our community. There will also be plenty of activities and refreshments throughout the day for all of those who attend. Further details on this will be published at the start of 2024.

One of the key organisations involved with the Community Safety Working Group, is Skipton Youth Council. They are a fantastic local group involving young people from across the community and is a valuable way of listening to the voices of our young people. As part of the Group, they have set-up a survey that was sent to local schools to understand the challenges young people face and what services and support they would like to see. The feedback allows the Youth Council and the Community Safety Working Group to help our plans going forward.

If you are a young person between the age of 11-18 and want to be involved in representing young people from your community, please contact chloe.thwaites@northyorks.gov.uk At each of the meetings, our local police service provides crime stats for the area, which we review and discuss together to see if there are any trends or themes we need to focus on. Since the inception of the Group in September 2022, there has been a reduction of anti-social crime within the town and despite the challenges of resource, our local police service work tirelessly to ensure our community is safe.

As well as the group ensuring we are proactive in our strategy, we do recognise that there will still be incidents that we need to be reactive to.

During our recent group meeting on Thursday December 7, we discussed the recent incident that occurred at the Bus Station. I raised the concerns from residents about CCTV in the area and that it doesn’t cover the back end of the bus station. The CCTV in the town is funded by Skipton BID to support the businesses in that location which is why it doesn’t currently cover all of the bus station.

Overall, the CCTV installed by BID in the town is working well and has been used to good effect when there have been incidents, though for the deterrent of anti-social behaviour, it’s essential we have coverage in as many places as possible. Therefore, I proposed we make it a priority for a camera to be funded for the back area of the bus station, which would immediately join the same network system already in place across the town.

Skipton BID would fund the monitoring and maintenance of the camera, whilst Skipton Town and North Yorkshire Council, with other appropriate agencies within the Community Safety Working Group, will look at ways to fund the new camera. I have ensured this is made a priority and we will update the community on the progress.

As I said at the start of setting up this Group, we will not change things overnight, but I am pleased with the progress so far, especially the engagement with everyone involved. We will continue to focus on improving the safety of our town for everyone, with our next objectives looking at what we can to help support older people in our community.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback for the Community Safety Group, you can email me at: cllr.brian.mcdaid@skiptontowncouncil.gov.uk

Brian McDaid