Harrogate town centre concerns: New 'report a crime' campaign

Harrogate BID is launching a new campaign to ask traders to “report a crime” after concerns about visible policing in the town centre.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:34 pm
Updated Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:39 pm

Harrogate BID manager Matthew Chapman said he was keen to stress that Harrogate was a very safe town in general.

But, he added, it was his duty to act on comments from businesses who paid the BID levy.

Harrogate BID manager Matthew Chapman and Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner.

“Although we all agree, in general, Harrogate is a safe, welcoming and clean town, it is not immune from the challenges all town and city centre environments experience,” said Mr Chapman.

“We hear regular stories from town centre traders of anti-social activity, including shoplifting, vandalism and drug abuse.”

Harrogate BID’s “Report a Crime” campaign is already being backed by Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, Harrogate Pubwatch and a number of major town centre businesses.

The new initiative follows a meeting between Harrogate BID and Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, in which Mr Chapman passed on BID levy payers’ concerns about a lack of visible policing.

Mr Chapman was told that when it came to prioritising resources, police chiefs relied on statistics presented to them, with reported incidents being at the top of the list. As a result, Mrs Metcalfe urged the use of online reporting.

“In order to get a true picture, we are asking those who are either victims of a crime, or witness incidents, to report it online,” said Mr Chapman.

“Unlike calling 101 and then hanging up after several minutes, this means every incident is logged.

“This way, we can get a true picture of what is happening in the town.”

David Simister, Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, said it was important to get an accurate picture of the problem.

“Harrogate is a fantastic town to live and work, but when it comes to crime it’s not immune,” said Mr Simister.

“But it’s important we get a proper understanding of what is happening – or not happening – in our town centre.

“In the past I’ve called 101 and after waiting many minutes I’ve simply put the phone down.

"And by doing this, an incident has gone unreported.”

Also backing the new campaign is Alan Huddart, secretary of Harrogate Pubwatch.

“Thanks to the BID’s support of Pubwatch and the introduction of the app, we are able to alert those in the scheme immediately to

any issues.

“But I would also ask all licenced premises to register any incident online. Harrogate is a great night out, and we want to make sure it stays that way by having adequate policing.”

Justin Sutter, Business Manager Harrogate John Atherton’s, which trades at McDonalds on Cambridge Street, said: ““We are backing the report a crime campaign because the safety and security of our people and customers is of the utmost importance to us.

“We hope that we can continue to support North Yorkshire Police with this campaign and be a part of creating safer communities.”

To report an incident, go to www.northyorkshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/