Chief Constable quizzed by Harrogate councillors

Chief Constable Dave Jones is inviting the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York to take an active part in his next monthly webchat on Monday 8 July, between 5pm and 6pm.
Chief Constable Dave Jones is inviting the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York to take an active part in his next monthly webchat on Monday 8 July, between 5pm and 6pm.

Councillors quizzed the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police on anti-social behaviour, technology and PCSOs at a meeting this week.

Chief Constable Dave Jones was questioned by councillors at Harrogate Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny meeting on Monday evening (October 6).

The meeting came just hours after Police Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan announced that Ripon Police Station on North Street had been sold.

The Chief Constable reassured councillors that a police presence would remain in the city. He said: “It doesn’t mean we are moving out of Ripon. It means we are trying to make the most of our capital assets.

“This is a station more suitable for policing in the 1950s before the internet and mobiles.”

Technology was a key topic of the meeting, and the Chief Constable said the police force were hoping to introduce a new technology locate system which tracks officers’ locations.

He said the system is currently used by Leicestershire Police, South Wales Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“It is about getting the most out of officers’ time. Making sure they are turning left to take the best route, not right to go past the best butty shop,” he said.

Coun Nick Brown (Con, Newby) raised concerns about the future of Safer Neighbourhood meetings.

The Chief Constable said: “If it work and allows us to make contact with people then we want to continue with that, but the issue we have is reach. We need to reach as many people as possible in the most effective way.

“I can go to a meeting and just four members of the public turn up. I can do a webchat and reach hundreds.”

Coun Brown said: “But I don’t Twitter, a lot of people don’t Twitter. There is a lot of the population who can’t be reached online.”

Despite those concerns the Chief Constable said the public meetings were becoming less popular.

He said: “I am not picking up a groundswell of people wanting to come out on a Thursday evening to talk about policing.”

Coun Bernard Bateman (Con, Wathvale) praised the districts PCSOs. He told the Chief Constable: “They are the jewel in the police force’s crown; you make sure Julia Mulligan doesn’t get rid of them!”

The Chief Constable said the force hoped to boost its ranks of special constables, who are volunteers.

Members of the public raised the issue of anti-social behaviour at the meeting.

Helen Clapham who lives on Cambridge Terrace, said: “It is just not on, the noise, they are vomiting, urinating it’s disgraceful.”

The chief constable said: “We need to know these things are happening, they need to be reported so we can work with our partner organisations to deal with the issues.”