More officers are to be deployed onto the streets of Wakefield District this December as part of an ongoing operation to make city and town centres safer.
Extra night time patrols will be taking place from this weekend as part of a continuing drive by the Wakefield Community Safety Partnership to improve the night time economy in city and town centres in the district.
The new festive patrols will run right through into Christmas and New Year and are part of a package of measures by Wakefield Police and Wakefield Council to tackle issues regarding alcohol and drug related anti-social behaviour.
While the district’s centres remain very safe places to socialise, authorities are aware of some issues with revellers behaviour and drugs which have arisen, and are determined to tackle them.
In the latest phase of the initiative last weekend, officers conducted patrols with drugs dogs in licensed premises in Wakefield and Outwood.
Three people were detected with drugs in Outwood by police and were dealt with by officers.
Since it started in October, the drive has seen officers make multiple arrests for offences including, drunk and disorderly, indecent exposure, possession of drugs with intent to supply and assault in Wakefield.
Hundreds of potentially counterfeit cigarettes were also confiscated from a Wakefield business.
Officers also arrested a man for possession of drugs in Pontefract as part of a drugs check of a number of pubs in the town.
Aside from the enhanced patrols, over the coming weekends, police plan to continue drugs swabbing inside pubs and bars alongside, where appropriate, licensing checks by Wakefield District Council.
Chief Inspector Richard Close, said: “We have had a positive response to our enhanced patrols so far and the reactions from both publicans and from residents is that they have appreciated seeing extra officers on the streets, together with colleagues from Wakefield Council.
“Again, we want to stress that the centres of Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford remain safe places to socialise. What we are doing is working with partners to tackle a small core of people we know are in our communities causing issues linked to drugs and alcohol.”
He added: “As the Christmas season gets underway we will of course see more people out at night enjoying Christmas parties and events.
“Revellers should be reassured that a lot of work will be ongoing by the police and partners to help them have safe and incident free evenings.
“Those who become involved in trouble however, or who try and carry and use drugs should be warned that we will be looking out for them and officers will not hesitate to make swift arrests.
“We would ask those using the night time economy to work with us to help everyone have a safe and festive December.”
Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities and Chair of the Wakefield Community Safety Partnership, said: “As the festive period approaches, we want Wakefield to continue to be a place where people can meet family and friends on an evening for a hassle-free, safe night out. Our previous joint initiatives with the Police have been very successful and we want to build on this
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy our night time economy and most importantly feel safe when out.
“Unfortunately there are a small number of people whose behaviour spoils this for others. That is why we are working with the Police to show that this kind of anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. “