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From Keighley News, December 27th, 2018
Written by David Knights

KEIGHLEY’s MP is to pile on the pressure for a new police station on the site of the former Keighley College building in Cavendish Street. John Grogan has pledged to continue pushing West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Council to give the go-ahead for the project. MP John Grogan this week said the two organisations were in “advanced negotiations” to build the station, once the existing college building was demolished. He added: “A new police headquarters would be an important boost in the fight against crime, especially in the town centre.”

Mr Grogan spoke as Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team leader Inspector Khalid Khan briefed councillors on the major crime issues facing the constituency.

Speaking to Keighley Area Committee, he touched on drug issues, burglaries, dangerous driving and grooming, including grooming children for sex, and enticing them into lives of crime.

Insp Khan revealed that £1 million worth of cannabis have been seized following raids on Keighley properties since April.

He said: “Drugs are, and always have been, a problem in the area. We have tried to tackle drugs on various fronts, including seizures and raids on cannabis farms.

“These cannabis farms have turned up in almost every area of Keighley. The value of cannabis plants we have seized since April has been over £1 million. We have also seized heroin, cocaine and spice.”

Insp Khan spoke about the work the team were doing to stop grooming, adding: “Grooming isn’t just about child sexual exploitation, it can also be about criminal groups encouraging kids to become criminals.

“These organised crimes groups are responsible for a good amount of the drug issues in the area. They encourage youngsters who can be quite vulnerable to become burglars, to do drug deals for them and to do their dirty work like setting competitors cars on fire.”

He said police had recently dealt with a “key individual” responsible for a large amount of crime in the town, and they have since been sent to prison.
Insp Khan added: “He had a hand in numerous criminal incidents in the last six months. We managed to get enough evidence to charge him, and he is now in prison until 2020. We will continue to charge these people and do what we can to stop them.”

He said other issues affecting the constituency included anti-social behaviour in Oakworth, where numerous drivers have reported being pelted with stones while driving past Holden Park.
Operation Steerside - a police operation to tackle dangerous driving, has recently seen a number of “days of action” in the area. He said after three months of the operation running in the area, there had been almost 370 prosecutions for driving related offences.

Each day of action resulted in an average of 30 prosecutions. The most recent day of action last week led to five taxis being suspended.

West Yorkshire Police’s estates department remained tight-lipped this week about progress on moving police into a town centre station.

In conjunction with the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, they referred the Keighley News to commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson’s comments in September.

At the time he said: “Efforts remain ongoing to identify a site for a police station in the centre of Keighley that is fit for purpose, provides value for money and delivers more visible policing for our communities.

“As part of this process, all potential options are being explored in consultation with our partners, ensuring we arrive at the right outcome for those who live and work in the town.”