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Violence at Hebden Bridge Railway Station

From Ruth Z

Thursday, 20 September 2012

I was a witness to a violent incident at Hebden Bridge railway station last night involving 5 youths who must have been strung out on something - yet there has been no publicity I can see regarding the incident.

This could have been prevented if police had responded faster to a call from Todmorden station before the youths boarded the train, but it took some time to convince them this was any more than slightly loud beer-guzzling youthful exuberence.

Lack of police presence in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge at night is allowing a number of preventable incidents to happen. How can we make this heard? I have tried to call police out at evenings and weekends due to an ongoing harassment issue, and my intimidators quickly learned that especially on a Friday or Saturday night there is unlikely to be any police response. As a disabled woman living alone this has been terrifying.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 21 September 2012

It's possible that the railway station incident is the province of British Transport Police rather than local police, though there must be some overlap somewhere.

Regarding harassment, I know from when I used to attend police ward meetings (they're no longer on a convenient night) that the police do take this seriously and will take action if the perpetrators can be identified. All I can suggest is that you contact the local police team, and ideally get neighbours and other witnesses to do the same. Once there are several complaints about the same problem, the police are in a stronger position to give it priority.

From Ruth Z

Friday, 21 September 2012

Graham, I appreciate the police are supposed to take harassment seriously, but reports several times a month over a period of 11 months only resulted in the police recording a "neighbour dispute" - they clearly wanted nothing to do with it and were fed up of being called out. Social services input and later input from an MP's assistant also did nothing to resolve the problem or improve police response. I had to move.

Regards the station incident, the transport police contacted the local police but the local police response was too slow, as there is no one based in Todmorden or Hebden Bridge at night or weekends.

FromĀ Susan Quick

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Ruth I'm really sorry to hear about your dreadful experience and the failure of the police to respond adequately. I represent the disabled community on the Board of Hebden Bridge Town Partnership. My impairment is known as "head injury". Please contact me on susanquick13@gmail.com and I'll take it to the next meeting of the Town Partnership, 7pm at the Town Hall, Monday 8th October. You are welcome to attend.

From Jonathan Timbers

Friday, 28 September 2012

I was disturbed to read of Ruth's experiences in and around the railway station.

She (and others) will find the this report on Disability-Harassment from the Equality and Human Rights Commission of interest. Sadly, her experiences are not uncommon or isiolated. Fortunately, the report contains detailed practical recommendations for the police.

I think it would be possible to use the recommendations to constructively engage with the police to ensure that they fully understand the nature of the incident and are doing everything they can to prevent escalation or repetition. I'm going to the ward forum on Tuesday where the police will be present and am happy to raise the issue. But I don't want to overwhelm you, Ruth, by initiating a well-meaning stampede to help but both you and Susan can contact me through the Hebweb to discuss this matter further and ensure our efforts are co-ordinated, if you want.

Susan, I think you have my email address anyway, so feel free to contact me, or ask HebWeb to forward a message. Perhaps HebWeb might consider changing the title of the thread as well as it's more than just violence; we're talking about something which is a hate crime, like racism, homophobia or violence against women and girls.

From Andrew Grant

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Last Sunday evening, at about 16 45, my wife and I were waiting for the train home after attending the highly successful and very enjoyable Folk and Roots Festival when we witnessed a rather disturbing incident. A young lad, probably in his late teens or early twenties, was riding a BMX bike up and down the Leeds-bound platform at high speed and in a very reckless manner, weaving in and out of the many passengers, including young children, who were waiting for the approaching train.

An elderly gentleman remonstrated with the youth and then (bad move!) tried to grab hold of his bike as he passed very close to the platform edge. The lad jumped off the bike shouting and screaming abuse and appeared to grab hold of the gentleman and try to push him onto the track in front of the oncoming train amid gasps of shock from the onlookers. Luckily the gentleman managed to maintain his balance and only lost his newspaper onto the track, before boarding the train.

As the train pulled out, two police officers appeared on the platform and appeared to be interviewing the young lad. I'm not sure whether the Police had been alerted to this lad's behaviour previously by a waiting passenger, but their response was commendably quick on this occasion, especially for a Sunday evening.

From Susan Quick

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Yes Jonathan thank you for saying we may well be looking at a hate crime against those of us who are disabled. The police are taking it seriously. I was just visited by the new woman sergeant at Tod station and the woman PC who was present at the PACT meeting when Jonathan raised the issue. They would like to talk to Ruth. As this is my only way of contacting you, Ruth please phone Tod station on direct line 101 quote PS 3434, ask to speak to Police Sergeant Holbook