Operation Harpoon stepped up to keep seafront safe

A/Sgt Sam Brown on the seafront/by Northumbria Police.
A/Sgt Sam Brown on the seafront/by Northumbria Police.

Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team’s anti-social behaviour campaign has been stepped up to keep seafront safe.

The campaign, named Operation Harpoon, was launched last month, but with the start of the school summer holidays it has been stepped up to keep the seafront safe and enjoyable for all.

Officers will be on patrol along the seafront both to reassure people visiting the area but mainly to identify any youths involved in anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.

Acting Neighbourhood Sergeant Sam Brown said: “We know the impact anti-social behaviour has on our communities particularly on the seafront where it can ruin a day out for families wanting to spend time at the beach.

“The beaches along Roker and Seaburn are really popular and we want to make sure people visiting the area are able to enjoy their visit and not feel intimidated or harassed by groups of youths who are becoming rowdy.

“We know teenagers want to spend time with their friends and the beach is an ideal place for them to gather and we don’t want to discourage this.

“We’re just asking they are mindful that other people also want to use the beach and should be able to without having their visit ruined.

“We know underage drinking is a catalyst for anti-social behaviour and will be making sure any teenagers who are drinking will have the alcohol taken from them.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, added: “I’m pleased to see that this operation to tackle anti-social behaviour along Sunderland’s coastline is fully underway and collaborative efforts are in place to address the concerns of local people.

“The effects under-age drinking can have on individuals and local communities can be very damaging.

“I will continue to challenge the chief constable to ensure Northumbria Police continues to be one of the top forces in tackling anti-social behaviour and for tough and effective action to be taken against those who are responsible for unwelcome trouble and disorder.”

Police and community safety partners across Sunderland take a three step approach to dealing with teenagers involved in anti-social behaviour.

Individuals involved in anti-social behaviour will receive a written letter from police as a first step.

If they are consistently involved in anti-social behaviour they will receive a visit at home by police and the council’s anti-social behaviour team and spoken to in front of their parents or guardian.

Step three will see police and the council utilise the legislation that is available to them such as dispersal orders, civil injunction orders and criminal behaviour orders.

Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, councillor Harry Trueman said: “Selling alcohol to anyone under 18 years old is a criminal offence, and our officers work closely with shops and businesses to remind them of their responsibilities and provide guidance on age restricted sales.

“Combining our resources and expertise we can work effectively together to tackle problems head on, by addressing what is helping to cause them.”

Posters have been displayed around the seafront warning people anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

To find out more about what police are doing to tackle the issues important to you, you can visit the Northumbria Police website or follow them on twitter @NPSunderland and @Northumbriapol.

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