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Farsley councillor’s concerns over park fires as ‘small group of young people cause havoc’

Calverley & Farsley councillor Amanda Carter has spoken out against anti-social behaviour after fires were lit in playgrounds at Hainsworth Park and Farsley Recreation Ground. 

Cllr Carter (Cons) said ‘a small group of young people are causing havoc locally’ – and pointed them towards ‘plenty’ of council-funded youth activities in the area.

She said: “A fire was lit in Hainsworth Park this week under a slide designed for little children and there was a similar incident at Farsley Recreation Ground. This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and it’s time the police and council’s anti-social behaviour team clamped down on it. 

“Most young people are law abiding and find things to do that interest them that don’t involve damaging property or being a nuisance to local people. However, a small minority seem to get their kicks from being anti-social, upsetting others and damaging property. I put out a fire myself recently outside a café.”

Cllr amanda carter
Cllr Amanda Carter

Cllr Carter said there has been a number of incidents in the city’s parks this year.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees and it is all public money coming out of the pockets of all of us to fix the damage caused in such incidents,” she added. 

“There are plenty of activities for young people to engage in locally. There is youth provision at Farsley Library on Friday evenings, plus other activities provided by the council. The Outer West Community Committee alone has helped fund a number of projects and activities for young people in my ward. 

“The vast majority of young people are fantastic kids, I’ve worked with many when I worked at Martin House Children’s hospice and they have raised thousands of pounds for terminally ill children.  

“However, a small group of young people are causing havoc locally and action needs to be taken by the Police and Council. Nobody wants to see young people locked up but they need to be told that such behaviour is unacceptable and their parents need to be made aware of what they’re doing.”

Increasing police pressures

The incidents come as neighbourhood police officers across Leeds are being diverted to attend emergency incidents because of a huge spike in calls to West Yorkshire Police.

Inspector Mark Gamlyn yesterday told councillors the force was dealing with “treble” the number of calls it would normally expect in some parts of Leeds.

The spike means resources usually devoted to tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour are being funnelled elsewhere.

Inspector Gamlyn, who is the new neighbourhood policing team inspector (NPT) for Leeds South, made the remarks at a council-run community committee meeting in Middleton on Tuesday.

He told local councillors that police were currently handling around 500 incidents “at any one time” in Leeds, compared to an expected figure of around 150.

He said: “I’d say calls for Leeds over the last four to five weeks have been the highest I’ve ever known it, and it’s eight years I’ve been here.

“The directive has been for neighbourhood policing teams to backfill and support call handling.

“What we feel is if we’ve got emergency calls and we haven’t got response cops available, we have to cover those calls.

“It’s been a real challenge for us because our officers have been diverted to (those duties) for quite a bit.”

Insp Gamlyn said that the “significant spike” in calls had been seen in the eastern and western parts of the city, rather than the south.

“I’d expect the figures to be proportionate across the city, but they’re not,” he added.

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  1. Police are useless, it’s the government that needs to change the laws around the criminal and antisocial behaviour commited by minors, and parents should be also held responsible and made to foot the bill for any damage or distress caused by these brats

    • Completely agree. With regards to the Police, its no surprise. The attitude that comes across from so many of the officers out and about when you ask them for help with anything is that they just aren’t interested, it is nothing to do with them.
      I thought Farsley was a nicer place than it obviously is, there are some parents who just couldn’t care less what their kids are up to.


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