Harrogate town centre trouble - police hail Operation Yeehaw's success

Harrogate Police have been working with Harrogate Borough Council to tackle problems in the Oxford Street area.
Harrogate Police have been working with Harrogate Borough Council to tackle problems in the Oxford Street area.

A high-profile operation to deal with anti-social behaviour issues in Harrogate town centre is showing good results.

Harrogate police have been working with the Community Safety Team at Harrogate Borough Council on the operation, which aims to ensure residents and visitors feel safe in the town.

The operation, dubbed Op Yeehaw, involves high-visibility police patrols, and sees officers and PCSOs engaging with the local community and enforcing Harrogate’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) when needed.

In the two weeks since the operation launched on 7 November, it has resulted in five arrests for a range of offences, and 18 people challenged for drinking alcohol in the street.

The Harrogate Advertiser highlighted the re-emergence of the town's street drinking problems with threatening groups of people gathering near Wesley Chapel on Oxford Street in a story last month.

Inspector Penny Taylor, of Harrogate Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “It is clear that the message is getting through to those who commit crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre, that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

"We are getting very positive feedback from residents and I’d like to thank them for supporting this operation. I would also urge them to continue to call us with reports of crime and anti-social behaviour, via 101 or 999 in an emergency, so we can maintain this positive action.

“The operation will carry on into December, so we can continue to keep anti-social behaviour to a minimum and ensure the community feels safe.”

Coun Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said: “The council’s 24 hour CCTV service has played a vital role in the operation by providing evidence and support through the comprehensive network of cameras in the town centre.

"The support of residents is invaluable, but I would also like to thank the shops and licensed premises who are members of the Radiolink Scheme, which provides direct radio communications to the CCTV Control Room.

"Their involvement makes a real difference and demonstrates the positive impact that a joint approach can make when dealing with anti-social behaviour.

“Anti-social behaviour is not an issue that is confined to Harrogate and we will be continuing our efforts to stamp out this problem wherever it rears its ugly head in our district.”