Youths causing anti-social behaviour 'mayhem' in Ripon prompts police boss meeting
Councillors in Ripon are set to hold an "urgent" meeting with the county's police boss over increasing reports of anti-social behaviour including members of the public being spat at and pets being kicked.
Ripon City Council will meet with North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan within the next two weeks over how to tackle the problem which is being blamed on "a small group of yobs".
Council leader Andrew Williams said he believes local police officers are doing all they can to keep the community safe but there isn't enough of them to allow them to do their jobs properly.
"Residents are finding it extremely frustrating and annoying that a small group of yobs are effectively causing mayhem and seemingly going unchecked," he said.
"The city council is extremely grateful to local officers who are trying their very best to resolve the situation. We do fully understand that staff resources are stretched and the force is under pressure during Covid, and that is why we have gone to the top.
"We welcome the fact that a very swift response has come from Julia Mulligan and this hasn't been brushed under the rug.
"We are hoping that more staffing resources can be put into this issue to stamp it out. It's my concern that if these individuals aren't kept in check, then it could spiral out of control with more serious crimes."
Councillor Williams said violence and anti-social behaviour in the city has become an increasing concern over the last two years and that some residents have been frightened to leave their homes on an evening during lockdown.
He also said the situation isn't just a policing issue, but also a parenting issue and called on families to play their part.
"This is a problem which pre-dates the lockdowns but I think more people are now concerned to go out at night because there are less people around," councillor Williams said.
"The behaviour of these teenagers is a direct responsibility of parents. Thankfully most parents know where their children have been during lockdown, but some haven't.
"If other teenagers deem this type of behaviour to be acceptable, it will only encourage them to do the same."
In response, Ms Mulligan said she would be briefed by North Yorkshire Police before meeting with councillors at the start of next month.
She said: “I know the huge impact anti-social behaviour can have on communities and am always willing to hear the views of those who are facing challenges to address it.
"Operational decisions on policing are for the Chief Constable, but I have promised to look into the situation in Ripon and hear the concerns at first-hand. I look forward to doing that in the near future as we work together to keep residents safe and feeling safe.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter