North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, has told the city council in Ripon that the police “took their eye off the ball” and something will be done to tackle the spate of violent incidents during lockdown.
Council leader, Andrew Williams, told YorkMix Radio that she had provided both answers and solutions to the issues residents face.
Also at the virtual meeting, which wasn’t made public, were North Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector Andrew Colbourne and Inspector Alex Langley. Inspector Langley is a recent appointment as the officer with responsibility for neighbourhood policing in the city.
Councillor Williams said he appreciated Ms Mulligan’s frankness but action was required after a spate of robberies and antisocial behaviour incidents whch have left residents fearful of going out at night.
Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said:
“I’d like to thank local councillors for their time and for talking to myself and the police about the issues in Ripon at the moment.
While it is not an excuse for some very concerning behaviour, there is no doubt some of the problems are directly related to the pandemic. Having heard about Operation Change, and the additional resources the police are bringing to the City, I am confident that everyone now understands and are dealing robustly with the problems.
We also need to be aware that young people are finding the current situation very challenging and this requires a balanced response – one that deals firmly with the ringleaders, but also ensures other young people caught up in a very difficult situation are not criminalised, and end up with their life chances ruined.”
Inspector Alex Langley commented about North Yorkshire Police’s new operation in Ripon.
“You’ll have seen from recent social media posts and news articles that there has been a spike in anti-social behaviour, criminality, street robberies, assaults on the public and assaults on emergency workers in the town.
Groups of youths have been breaching Covid regulations by congregating in in the Market Square, the bus station, and Bondgate to name a few.
A new operation to tackle these issues was put in place at the end of last month which means our communities will see an increase in patrols from various policing teams over the next few weeks and longer if required.
This operation is not a long-term solution and we are working in the background with key partners on longer term plans to safeguard those most vulnerable in Ripon and prevent the most harm from offenders.
Whilst we cannot always inform the public of some of the positive results we see due to ongoing investigations and court processes, please rest assured this operation has already seen results.
We have made a number of arrests, recovered Class A and B drugs, seized criminal property including cash and also a number of imitation firearms and other weapons.
We have released some offenders on bail, some under investigation whilst enquiries continue and others have been charged and are within the criminal justice process awaiting court. As soon as we can release an update we will to keep you informed of the positive outcomes.
Please continue to report matters via 101 and 999 if urgent. Or please use Crimetoppers to report matters anonymously in confidence and we can take the necessary actions.
Whilst we appreciate the rising community tension has been caused by a small handful of offenders please be assured that we are still here and present in Ripon. We are actively patrolling, and we will take all action necessary to deter offenders, prevent crime and enforce where necessary.
To those of you in the community that are following the lockdown rules, playing your part in our recovery from the pandemic and safeguarding each other we thank you for your effort and support at this critical time.”
Inspector Langley continues with a direct plea to the groups of young people believed to be responsible
“If you commit anti-social behaviour and mindless act of theft and criminal damage we will take every opportunity to investigate and prosecute you.
As a young person you may not realise that throwing that stone or stealing some alcohol may result in a criminal record – and that a criminal record could prevent you accessing higher education and certain types of employment.
Please stop and think about the consequences of your actions and how your decisions today could impact on your future.”