Harrogate BID is launching a new campaign to help understand the true nature of law and order within Harrogate town centre.

Its ‘Report a Crime’ campaign is asking businesses, residents and visitors that have been the victims of a crime or anti-social activity – or witness an incident – to report it online at https://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

In a recent meeting with Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, Harrogate BID Manager Matthew Chapman shared with her Levy Payers’ concerns about a lack of visible policing.

Mr Chapman was told that when it comes to prioritising resources, police chiefs rely on statistics presented to them, with reported incidents being at the top of the list, with Mrs Metcalfe urging the use of online reporting.

Mr Chapman said: “First and foremost I want to say Harrogate is a safe, welcoming and clean town. However, we hear regular stories from town centre traders of anti-social activity, including shoplifting, vandalism and drug abuse.

“In order to get a true picture, we are asking those who are either victims of a crime, or witness incidents, to report it online. Unlike calling 101 and then hanging up after several minutes, this means every incident is logged. This way, we can get a true picture of what is happening in the town.”

Harrogate BID’s Report a Crime Campaign is being backed Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce and a number of major town centre businesses.

Alan Huddart, Secretary of Harrogate Pubwatch, said: “Thanks to the BID’s support of Pubwatch and the introduction of the app, we are able to alert those in the scheme immediately to any issues.

“At the same time, I would also ask not just our members, but all licenced premises, to register any incident online, ensuring the police have a proper record of it. Harrogate is a great night out, and we want to make sure it stays that way by having adequate policing.”

David Simister, Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive, said: “Harrogate is a fantastic town to live and work, but when it comes to crime it’s not immune.

“However, the fear of crime is often worse than perception, but it’s important we get a proper understanding of what is happening – or not happening – in our town centre, hence us giving our backing to this campaign.

“In the past I’ve called 101 and after waiting many minutes I’ve simply put the phone down. And by doing this, an incident has gone unreported. In future, report it online and that way it is logged and recorded.”

Justin Sutter, Business Manager Harrogate John Atherton’s, which trades at McDonalds on Cambridge Street, said: ““We are backing the report a crime campaign because the safety and security of our people and customers is of the utmost importance to us.

“We hope that we can continue to support North Yorkshire Police with this campaign and be a part of creating safer communities.”