By David Spereall, local democracy reporter
Pudsey is suffering from serious knife and drug-related crime, it’s been claimed.
Four recent stabbings have been reported in Pudsey, a council meeting was told, with local councillors saying the town is being affected by County Lines – where organised gangs ferry drugs between different places.
It comes as police say serious youth violence across Leeds has risen since the end of the pandemic.
The issue was raised at a city council scrutiny meeting on Thursday, during a debate about how funding to tackle crime is divided between disadvantaged communities and more affluent areas.
Conservative councillor Amanda Carter, who represents the nearby Calverley and Farsley ward, said: “There have been four knife crimes in Pudsey, which you might think is an affluent area, but with County Lines and drugs – there are pockets of deprivation everywhere.
“Pudsey is not an area you’d think has high deprivation, but there are small pockets of it and there are serious problems in terms of knife crime.”
Pudsey has Leeds’ second most-visited park and the town is well-known for its thriving grassroots sports scene, which has produced a glut of county cricketers for Yorkshire.
But Conservative councillor Trish Smith, who represents Pudsey, said it was also struggling with crime and the causes of it.
Councillor Smith said: “As Councillor Carter points out, Pudsey does have its fair share of anti-social behaviour. We’ve had some drug crimes.
“We do unfortunately have an awful lot of deprivation and poverty within the ward. There’s no hiding from it.
“We do need to get a handle on the gang and most of it is leading back to drugs and County Lines.”
Chief Inspector Pete Hall, from West Yorkshire Police, later told the meeting that there had been an increase in serious youth violence “compared to Covid times”.
He said the force had recruited another youth crime prevention officer to help address that.
Councillor Smith suggested a tougher stance needed to be taken by the authorities on young people who break the law.
She said: “I do feel much of the time we reward bad behaviour rather than good behaviour.
“My own experience of youth services is that it almost feels as if those who are deemed as in danger of going down the wrong path get the good trips, and the children doing the right thing don’t get the same experience.
“I think we need to get a little bit better at that.”
WLD last year featured police deploying a knife arch at the entrance to Pudsey Park and issues with anti-social behaviour on an evening in the town centre.