Police launch knife crime crackdown in Harrogate and Ripon
A new police operation has been launched to crack down on knife crime in Harrogate and Ripon.
Operation Disarm is aimed at protecting young people from the risks associated with carrying knives, and focuses on two key elements: early intervention and prevention with vulnerable young people, and robust enforcement when it is necessary.
The operation involves using information and intelligence to enable a more targeted approach to areas where police suspect knife-related activity is taking place. Officers will be patrolling in uniform and plain clothes, and will be using appropriate stop and search powers when there is clear justification.
In addition, local neighbourhood policing officers will work alongside other agencies to raise awareness among young people about the risks of carrying knives - through visits and mentoring in schools, and speaking to young people and their parents at home.
Det Supt Simon Williamson, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “There are many reasons why a young person may carry a knife, with research suggesting that both ‘fashion’ and ‘fear’ play a role – fear, based on the misconception that others are carrying knives, and fashion whereby people post pictures of themselves with knives on social media. Some young people carrying knives may also be involved in county lines gangs and drug supply.
“That’s why it’s so important that we work in partnership with young people. Knife crime in Harrogate and Ripon remains very rare - but one incident is one too many. We have a responsibility to protect our young people, ensuring that they understand the clear dangers of carrying a knife or any other weapon."
Chief Inspector Andy Colbourne, County Commander, said: “While we have highlighted this as an area that requires our focus, members of the public can be reassured that we are doing everything we can to tackle knife crime across Harrogate and Ripon, and that this is a priority for our local policing teams. We understand how much fear knife crime can cause in our communities and my intention is to respond appropriately.
“Under Operation Disarm, where we have information that a young person may be carrying a knife, we will act on it swiftly. Whilst we will be robust with enforcement, a key element is to safeguard those individuals who may be at risk of offending and with our partners offer some educational support.
“If you have any concerns about a young person involved in knife crime, or would like to talk to the police about any other matter, please don’t hesitate to speak to an officer in person, or get in touch with us via 101.”