Getting tough with street drinkers in Harrogate

A second public meeting will take place in Harrogate next Tuesday (
A second public meeting will take place in Harrogate next Tuesday (

Measures to tackle the growing number of “intimidating” street drinkers in Harrogate town centre are being put in place ahead of a second public meeting next week.

Police have been working in partnership with interested parties in an attempt to crack-down on the issue after residents and business owners called for action.

Last November dozens of people attended a meeting, which was called in response to a growing number of calls from concerned members of the public who reported that large groups of street drinkers were selling drugs, urinating in alleyways and brawling in public.

Bower Street, Beulah Street and the Oxford Street areas were pinpointed as street drinking hotspots where groups congregate at various times of the day.

Police promised action to combat the problem and a second meeting will take place on Tuesday to update the public on the progress of ‘Operation Parakeet’, which was launched to look at investigating and challenging alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and crime.

Harrogate town centre PC Graham Frostick said: “The anti-social behaviour calls to the police are down, although the problem usually subsides in winter due to the cold weather. However, we are putting measures in place now so when the weather improves we will be in a better position to deal with the problems caused by street drinkers.

“We have taken a joint problem solving approach focusing on the victims, offenders and the location, looking at short-term, medium-term and long-term approaches.”

PC Frostick said Harrogate Police had been working in partnership with the borough council, as well as the Harrogate Homeless Project and Corrina and Friends Community Cafe “in a positive way”.

He said: “We are being more proactive and are using dispersal powers to remove anti-social individuals from the town centre. We are also exploring the use of community protection notices for business and property owners who fail to take charge of their property or land where it is causing an anti-social nuisance for the community.

The public meeting will take place at the Wesley Chapel, in Oxford Street, at 5.30pm on Tuesday.

The leader of Harrogate Borough Council Coun Richard Cooper said: “The next meeting is to review progress and look at what the police and other agencies have done. We will also be talking about the next steps and hearing back from residents and businesses about the differences they have seen.

“Will the problem go away? Probably not. Can we make it better? Yes we can. Have we made it better? I think we have.”