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West Yorkshire Police, Ferrybridge

Client: West Yorkshire Police

Cost: See Knottingley Case Study

Date: 01/03/2012

Genre: Community, Youth,

Anti social behaviour reduced with Community Constable involvement.


To work with the community to introduce a safe place for children and young people to meet and play, with the aim of helping to reduce complaints about anti social behaviour and steering children away from a life of crime.

Charlie Banks, Community Police Constable for West Yorkshire’s Knottingley and Ferrybridge areas explains: “With 25 years experience as a community officer, I knew that simple but effective community projects can significantly reduce crime and anti social behaviour.”

Charlie formed the Knottingley Community Partnership Project, a partnership of private companies including play equipment company Sutcliffe Play to work together with the police and Wakefield Council to introduce play facilities across his wards.

The first phase of the project was to raise funds for, and install play equipment on the Ferrybridge Estate.


A temporary youth shelter was installed on the Ferrybridge Estate to monitor its impact on the community. Charlie comments: “In the six months that followed, calls reporting anti social behaviour on the estate fell by 45% – I know because I went through the hundreds of call logs and compared them like for like myself!

“Since then, the vast majority of even the strongest of opponents to the scheme have contacted me to say they have noticed an improvement in the community.”

When anti social behaviour in the area reduced, the Council gave its support to the installation of a new modern shelter, ensuring that it was positioned so that the police can easily see it from the road, and that it is at a distance from a nearby children’s play area so that younger children can enjoy themselves too.

Charlie says: “I believe the installation of the Pod Shelter will have a phenomenal impact on the area for many years to come and this is just the start! So far the play equipment has had a phenomenal impact on the area and has contributed to a 60% reduction in anti social behaviour calls”.

Charlie concludes: “Research has highlighted that 50 per cent of parents say there are not enough places where they live for children to play safely without an adult. And 73 per cent of adults surveyed said they’d like more places where children can play independently. So the schemes we are introducing deserve some attention and, I hope, can pave the way to similar initiatives all over the UK.”

Design & Build

Charlie explains the consultation process: “When I first started talking to residents about creating a place for youngsters to congregate there was wide-spread opposition. After months of consultation with adults and children, the community agreed to a trial a temporary play equipment unit.”






Playground Equipment:

Sutcliffe Play donated a state-of-the-art £10,000 Pod youth shelter, which features a child-powered Bluetooth music player to help kick start the Knottingley Project Partnership.
The innovative teenage youth shelter developed following extensive consultation with a local authority and children in secondary schools.

The Pod’s modular system was developed following meetings with Kirklees Council and Sutcliffe Play was able to build their recommendations into the design, meaning each customer can specify how open or enclosed they would like their unit allowing easy visual access to police officers.

Angled panels and rubber seals also prevent excess noise leaving the Pod so nearby residents and facilities shouldn’t be disturbed.

The unit features a child powered Bluetooth music player and LCD lights, powered by a crank handle within the Pod that allows teenagers to learn about kinetic power whilst playing music stored on their mobile phones via the three speakers.

The lights are controlled by sensors, so when the unit reaches a certain level of darkness the lights automatically switch on. This system is controlled by a computer programme allowing the volume and light brightness to be pre-decided to suit individual customers.

The fully sealed panels prevent excess water from entering the unit and large side panels form a shield against the wind, protecting the children and young people inside from the elements.

Through the Industrial Trust, the leading provider of out of school and in-company educational experiences for young people, Sutcliffe Play worked with Archbishop Holgates School in York, to select the blue colour and name for the unit.

Following this a unit was installed in Guiseley School Technology College as a rigorous trial and consultation exercise.

Andrew Mangham, Technology Champion at the school comments: “From the minute the shelter arrived pupils were drawn to it by the Bluetooth aspect, they loved the freedom of being able to control the technology without having to rely upon adults to give them access to it.

“We really use the shelter as more than just an outdoor fixture by including it is areas of the science and technology curriculum to demonstrate what sound sustainable design could look like. Plus it’s probably the only place in school that all year groups from seven through to sixth form chose to hang out. The different years mingle freely and are happy to share their music.

“The shelter created a buzz with staff and pupils alike because it represented something new that incorporated cutting edge technology which nobody had seen before.”

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