POLICE joined forces with volunteers and groups like the Street Angels and York Rescue Boat, in a bid to reassure tourists and shopkeepers in York at the beginning of summer.

Police teams in the centre of York were on duty as part of Operation Erase - which targets drink fuelled anti social behaviour - and Operation Target - which tries to identify and help vulnerable people in the community.

On Saturday that saw the police’s evening briefing joined by Special Constables, Street Angels volunteers, the York Rescue Boat crew, and York BID’s Street Rangers.

With the warmer months approaching and the city’s tourist trade about to pick up at the same time as larger groups like hen and stag parties start heading to York on weekends, police said they wanted to start the season proactively.

York Press:

City centre inspector Andy Godfrey said: “We decided we wanted to do something early on in the season to show we were supporting the licensees.

“It’s not about spoiling people’s fun, it’s about supporting the licensees and the other organisations who are involved - like the Street Angels and the York Rescue Boat.”

With highly visible patrols on city centre streets through the day and into the night, he and the city centre’s Sergeant Nick Plumb said they hoped that if police officers were seen engaging with people earlier in the day, they could head off trouble or disruption later on.

A dispersal order was also put in place for the weekend, meaning police could have compelled anyone causing trouble to leave the city centre.

PC Joby Lewis, who briefed police and the other agencies on Saturday, said the day had passed extremely quietly and safely. Very little action had to be taken by police to arrest people or put a stop to anti social behaviour or disruption, he said.

“To us that’s a massive success because it means everybody who went out had a safe night. They could go out and enjoy themselves and not be hassled by us, or bothered by anyone else.

Pc Lewis added: “If we can report that every weekend, that’s great.”

Early on Saturday morning, police had joined the Salvation Army for a city centre walkabout, to look out for vulnerable rough sleepers.

From about 10pm Street Angels were on duty to look after partygoers in St Helen’s Square, and the York Rescue Boat was on patrol.

This weekend also saw students from the University of York’s Nightsafe join the operation.

Normally only at work on student club nights, the volunteers look out for clubbers who are drunk and vulnerable, giving out water and making sure they can get home safely, find their friends, or if necessary get first aid or medical help.