Meet the new police commander of York and Selby District, Superintendent Mark Khan.
He has three top goals for policing the patch and says, while it’s one of the safest places to live, there’s still plenty of crime and serious incidents to tackle.
As the most senior officer in the district, he makes big decisions that affect how policing is delivered for hundreds of thousands of people. So what is he planning to do that will help make a difference?
“Last week, I became commander of a district that includes one of the safest cities in England, which is also in the safest county in England,” he said.
“Those aren’t hollow claims, they are facts based on government analysis of a huge amount of crime data.
“That can be very reassuring to people who live or work in this wonderful district but they don’t mean everything is perfect.”
Supt Khan says that they deal with thousands of serious crimes a year in York and Selby. That means thousands of victims, thousands of lives affected by crime. That fact means they should never be complacent.
“I’ve been a police officer for almost 30 years – I know that the moment the police stop trying to improve and evolve would be the moment criminals gained the upper hand.
“There’s always scope for progress, no matter how effectively things have been done in the past.
“That’s why I’m going to share my three top goals for policing the York and Selby District and explain how we’re going to achieve them.”
His three priorities
1. ‘Stamp out antisocial behaviour’
He says public spaces are, by definition, for everyone to enjoy. If people who use a town or city centre, park or other communal areas feel intimidated or are at risk of crime, something is wrong.
“The lawless minority does not have a right to ruin public spaces for the law-abiding majority. We’ve already made big strides in tackling this and there’s excellent work happening as we speak.
“We’re using dispersal orders to stamp out antisocial behaviour at key points right now – and we’re backing them up with a strong police presence so people feel safe, however they choose to use public spaces.
“I want to see that continue for as long as the need exists. Yes, there’s more work to do, and yes, we’ll do it.
“As you read this, we’re also doing work with other organisations to prepare for the full reopening of the night-time economy after July 19 and planning how we police high footfall areas with maximum impact.
2. Tackling the harm drugs and alcohol do to our communities
This is Mark Khan’s second goal and he says: “Communities are damaged by crime. Crime is often fuelled by drug or alcohol misuse.
“So I want to ensure we get to the root cause of this issue. I want to build on the good work with partners like local authorities, the local hospitality sector and the wider community that has seen scores of troublemakers banned from pubs and bars and the tiny minority of rogue businesses that perpetuate this trouble held to account.
“But illegal drugs present different challenges. We know that early intervention – getting people the support they need before addiction really takes over – works wonders.
I’m keen to see us develop that approach further, to prevent the cycle between drugs and crime taking hold in the first place especially among young people.
“Most of the drugs in our district are brought in from other areas. This is often done by ‘county lines’ gangs which also import violence, exploitation, misery and fear.
“Our excellent Expedite team has led our force’s response to this – hundreds of drug dealers are in prison as a result. We will police York and Selby in a way that makes it a totally hostile environment to everyone involved in this repugnant trade.
3. Keeping roads and road users safe
“One of the ways we can keep drug gangs and other criminals out of our communities is to intercept them before they even reach their destination.
“We have skilled teams like our Operational Support Unit and Roads Policing Group who specialise in this. And we’ll be sharing some of their skills with officers from our local policing teams.
“But road policing is much more than ridding our routes of criminals. Last year, almost 40 people died on North Yorkshire’s roads and more than 250 were seriously injured.
“One in six of those serious injuries happened in our district. Virtually all were due to driver or rider error.
“We’ll be bringing more targeted road safety education and enforcement operations to York and Selby District – initiatives like Operation Boundary, which focuses a high volume of police units on key routes and pays particular attention to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists.
“And we’ll use the skills, resources and expertise of the York and North Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership to do everything in our power to reduce those harrowing statistics.
Supt Khan says these aren’t his only priorities”and we won’t fixate on these at the expense of the many other issues we deal with.”
“I’m fully aware they’re big challenges. We’re setting the bar high. These sort of goals need a clear plan. So we’re going to focus on maintaining high investigative standards to ensure we put together robust cases that bring people to justice.”
And he adds: “If you have concerns or information about any offences in York & Selby District, from antisocial behaviour to drink driving to drug dealing, share it with us by calling 101 and selecting option 1.”
You can leave your thoughts on what Mark Khan has had to say in our comments section below.