In Harehills, the police and various partner agencies have united for a concentrated effort to combat serious and organised crime. This operation is part of the broader ‘CommUnity Harehills’ project, which draws inspiration from the Home Office’s ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ strategy aimed at revitalising areas afflicted by organised criminal activities. The team from Leeds East Neighbourhood Policing, in collaboration with personnel from Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Licensing, West Yorkshire Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, Immigration, and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, undertook a visit to 13 commercial establishments in Harehills. This led to a series of enforcement measures and substantial seizures.

Over the course of two days, five individuals were apprehended, nine vehicles were confiscated, and 25 closure warning notices were delivered to licensed premises. Additionally, three Community Protection Notice warnings were issued. A Misuse of Drugs Act warrant, carried out as an emergency measure, led to the discovery of a cannabis farm, and an offensive weapon was confiscated. The operation also resulted in the recovery of a total of 3,129 cans of beer, 428 bottles of wine, 255 bottles of spirits, 2,230 vapes, and roughly 150,000 cigarettes.

Immigration officers executed two arrests, and fines potentially amounting to £20,000 were imposed on the implicated businesses. The Clear, Hold, Build approach represents a protracted strategy that involves actively engaging and empowering the local community. This ensures that the concerns most pertinent to their daily lives dictate the focus of collaborative efforts. By combining targeted enforcement with community-centric initiatives, this approach enables law enforcement and partner agencies to eliminate organised criminal activity from an area, maintain control to prevent its re-emergence and fortify the region to make it less susceptible to criminal elements.

Inspector Alastair Nicholls, who heads the Leeds East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The CommUnity Harehills initiative is about working collaboratively with partners to tackle organised criminality across the communities we serve, in line with concerns raised by the local community.

“These days of action demonstrate how police and partners will ruthlessly pursue and disrupt all forms of criminality which cause harm in the local community. The police will continue to work with partners to target and disrupt organised criminality to keep communities safe and feeling safe.”