This week's Getting Bradford Back to Business blog has been written by Inspector Richard Baildon, who leads West Yorkshire Police’s Bradford City Neighbourhood Team and is a member of the Bradford BID operating board
As the nights draw in, it seems incredible that I am fast approaching my eighth month as the Inspector for the city centre.
It has certainly been a very different summer to the plan that I laid out to the panel when I was interviewed for the job.
I am very much a volunteer - my family is a policing family with roots centred in Bradford and I have been committed to policing my hometown for the last 26 years.
My father served in the city for the 30 years prior to that.
It is certainly a very different scenario to the one faced by many of the other generations of city centre officers but not totally unique.
It has been a difficult eight months, with a whole new raft of responsibilities around preventing the Covid-19 infection.
It is essential that we all follow the latest regulations and restrictions to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This is a shared effort and your NPT will continue to play their part, alongside government, businesses, hospitality owners, the local authority and others, to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Please can I urge people to think about their own safety and the safety of others during these difficult times.
Thankfully, the vast majority of the public in the city centre adhere to the rules and I am grateful for their continued support throughout the local lockdown restrictions across the District.
Sadly, it would appear that the restrictions of relating to Covid-19 are with us longer than was anticipated and crime across the district is back to pre-Covid levels making it even more important that everyone takes personal responsibility for their own safety and others around them.
Our work that is not related to Covid-19 of course continues.
There are sustained efforts in place to keep the city centre safe.
Our work to address burglaries during the first part of the lockdown was intelligence led and sustained attention, at times of the day when shops were vulnerable to attack, provided some very positive results.
The teams’ efforts to address street robberies in September resulted in offenders being brought to justice and concerns about street drinking and begging have been addressed in partnership with other agencies (including the BID) to ensure that individuals are supported and the effect on the city centre is reduced.
I keep a timeline pinned to my office wall with all the developments and changes that are planned for the city centre in the coming years, such as Bradford Live, Darley Street Market, the new Interchange and, of course, our bid for City Of Culture marked on it.
My team and I stand ready to play our part in supporting all these future endeavours and our recovery from Covid-19.
The team are a valuable part of the fabric of Bradford and I am proud to lead them.
Together Bradford and its police have overcome many bumps in the road. Current events will be no different.