Street drinking meeting condemns gangs using Harrogate 'as a bathroom'

Street drinking in Harrogate
Street drinking in Harrogate

Police in Harrogate have stressed their public meeting on street drinking was ‘just the start and not the end’ of tackling the problem.

Dozens of people turned up to the meeting at Wesley Chapel on Thursday to discuss the police’s ‘Operation Parakeet’, including business owners, residents and councillors.

A number of issues including large groups of intimidating drinkers, public urination and an increase in litter around Bower Street. Beulah Street and Oxford Street were all raised.

However, Harrogate Police stressed that none of the issues raised were unknown to them and said they were keen to start working with all interested parties to ensure action against the problem.

Harrogate Town Centre PC Graham Frostick said: “We need to stress that this is the starting point, not the finishing point.

“We didn’t think we would have the meeting and say ‘right that’s it’. We need people to keep reporting the issues. We need to keep up the pressure on this problem.

“The business owners brought up how the street drinkers impacted the look of the town, the intimidation that was felt by the customers and it prevented people coming into the business.

“People are obviously being put off by seeing the drinking, hearing the swearing and seeing people treating the street as their bathroom.”

As well as continuing to work with businesses, charities and residents, police are also keen to work with the street drinkers themselves to find a solution to the problem.

PC Frostick explained that while the problem of street drinking usually subsides in winter, he is keen to tackle the issue effectively now to stop it reappearing in summer.

He said: “Street drinking has been a problem longer than I have been a policeman but the levels of it have increased and that has been over the last six months to a year

“It comes in fits and starts, especially in summer But we don’t want to wait until it drops off because we want to fix it now and stop it for the right reasons.