A new operation is underway in Harrogate and Ripon, aimed at protecting young people from the risks associated with carrying knives.
Operation Disarm focusses on two key elements: early intervention and prevention with vulnerable young people and robust enforcement when this is necessary.
Whilst Harrogate is an extremely safe place and crimes involving knives remain rare, the consequences of such crimes can be very serious and cause a great deal of concern and fear in local communities.
This operation involves using information and intelligence to enable a more targeted approach to areas where police suspect knife-related activity is taking place. Officers will be patrolling in uniform and plain clothes and will be using appropriate stop and search powers when there is clear justification.
There will also be the use of technology to identify those who pose the greatest risk of offending.
In addition, local Neighbourhood Policing officers will work alongside other agencies to raise awareness among young people about the risks of carrying knives – through visits and mentoring in schools, and speaking to youngsters and their parents at home.
Detective Inspector Simon Williamson, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “There are many reasons why a young person may carry a knife, with research suggesting that both ‘fashion’ and ‘fear’ play a role – fear, based on the misconception that others are carrying knives, and fashion whereby people post pictures of themselves with knives on social media. Some young people carrying knives may also be involved in county lines gangs and drug supply.
“That’s why it’s so important that we work in partnership with young people. Knife crime in Harrogate and Ripon remains very rare – but one incident is one too many. We have a responsibility to protect our young people, ensuring that they understand the clear dangers of carrying a knife or any other weapon.
Chief Inspector Andy Colbourne, County Commander, added: “Whilst we have highlighted this as an area that requires our focus, members of the public can be reassured that we are doing everything we can to tackle knife crime across Harrogate and Ripon, and that this is a priority for our local policing teams. We understand how much fear knife crime can cause in our communities and my intention is to respond appropriately.
“Under Operation Disarm, where we have information that a young person may be carrying a knife, we will act on it swiftly. Whilst we will be robust with enforcement, a key element is to safeguard those individuals who may be at risk of offending and with our partners offer some educational support.
“If you have any concerns about a young person involved in knife crime, or would like to talk to the police about any other matter, please don’t hesitate to speak to an officer in person, or get in touch with us via 101.”Last modified: February 6, 2020