Getting in the girl zone
Police Commissioner gets the low-down on crime from Bradford’s female residents
The British Muslim Women Forum (BMWF) and Women Zone invited Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns Williamson, to meet local residents from Bradford Moor so that they could raise their issues and concerns related to crime directly with him.
The meeting, held on14th June, was attended by many women who expressed concerns about high levels of drugs related crime in the area, road safety issues and other matters around child sexual exploitation and grooming.
Sabiya Khan, chair of the BMWF, said: “The meeting came about because I stood as a candidate for Bradford Moor Labour Party during the last local election.
“During my campaigns, I was meeting with local residents; especially women who raised issues about drug-related crimes.
“They felt it was going on very openly and little was being done about it.”
The women also felt that Bradford was a city that had road rage issues, with a special mention going out to the quad bikes which ‘roar up and down the roads’, often intimidating other road users and pedestrians by performing wheelies.
Sabiya continued: “As a candidate, I made a pledge to the women that I would arrange a meeting with the Police Commissioner so they could express their views directly to him and work on some solutions together for the area.”
Women Zone is an organisation that works in the area of Bradford and engages with women. They partnered the BMWF in delivering the session with Mr Burns Williamson.
The crime commissioner was described as ‘very receptive’ to the issues the women expressed and ‘listened intently’.
He agreed to look at the problems with his team and promised to continue the dialogue and connection with Women Zone and the BMWF.
Sabiya added: “Mark thought we should look at a partnership approach between the local council and the local policing team in order to look at how those issued could be addressed.”
The connection has now been established and there will be follow up meetings to monitor the progress.
Sabiya said the women felt ‘empowered’ by the meeting.
“It was good for Mark to engage with Bradford’s local women directly,” she concluded. “Women of South Asian origin, particularly Muslim women, don’t often get the opportunity to access the ears of somebody in his position directly so it was a two-way exchange.
“Even though there were some issues with language, there were members of the team who could interpret.”