A police crackdown on anti-social behaviour in Harrogate has been hailed a success by local businesses.
In November last year the Advertiser highlighted the re-emergence of the town's street drinking problems with threatening groups of people gathering near Wesley Chapel on Oxford Street.
More than 100 anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents had been reported to police since May.
Concerned businesses and members of the public reported witnessing threatening behaviour, fights, street drinking, public urination and drug use within the group.
Since then Harrogate Police have worked with the Community Safety Team at Harrogate Borough Council on 'Operation Yeehaw', which has seen officers and police community support officers engaging with the local community and enforcing Harrogate’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) when needed.
Under the operation, there has been 10 arrests, six Dispersal Orders issued, and 13 alcohol seizures. More than 40 young people have been spoken to about their behaviour, and a 16-year-old was given a Criminal Behaviour Order.
Police also worked with local businesses to respond to their reports.
Jaspal Sambhi, Business Manager at Harrogate McDonald’s, said: “We certainly noticed a reduction in the number of incidents around Oxford St during the operation. The officers were very visible and it was great to have them around.”
Laurence Connolly, Director of The Champagne Concept, said: “Overall, I think the operation has been a huge success. The most material and important aspect of the programme for us has been an increase of police presence on our street in the evening.
"This police presence has meant the any anti-social behaviour is dealt with quickly and in many cases prevented.
"Provided this level of police presence is sustained, I am hopeful that the anti-social behaviour we were previously seeing can be minimised in the future, making Harrogate a more enjoyable place for Harrogate residents and visitors.”
Inspector Penny Taylor of the Harrogate Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Operation Yeehaw has seen very positive results, sending a strong message that we will not tolerate crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre.
“The operation has now concluded, but we will continue to work with our partners to help keep levels of anti-social behaviour to a minimum and make sure that Harrogate’s businesses, residents and visitors feel safe.”
Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said: “A joint approach has again proved to be an effective tool, combining the resources of the police and the council alongside the support of retailers in the town centre, linking the Radiolink scheme to CCTV and the police.
"We will continue to work with our partners to ensure a robust approach is being taken in tackling anti-social behaviour.”