POLICE have warned the public to expect to see greater numbers of officers on the streets as a major cycling event returns to Yorkshire.

The Tour de Yorkshire runs for three days NEXT/THIS week, and Saturday's stage starts and finishes in North Yorkshire.

Superintendent Adam Thomson, neighbourhood policing commander for York and Selby, said a great deal of careful planning had already taken place for the event, which starts in Tadcaster and finishes after 122.5km in Harrogate.

He said huge crowds of spectators were expected to line the route, with thousands of visitors also expected to the region throughout the week.

Supt Thomson said: "As you can imagine, the work undertaken by the organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sports Organisation, to make the race such a success is significant. Not to mention the wider support to the event from the vast array of volunteers, local authorities, community partners and the emergency services.

"From a policing point of view, a dedicated team of officers from the four Yorkshire forces have been working hard behind the scenes for months to co-ordinate the police operation. The riders will again be escorted around the region by the ever-popular specialist police motorcyclists using rolling road closures."

Supt Thomson said this year's event would see more emphasis on crowd safety and crime prevention, with Project Servator underway to target the spectrum of criminality, from pickpockets to terrorists.

To achieve this, teams of officers specially trained in the latest techniques to detect criminals and those with criminal intent will be deployed around the course.

CCTV operators will work with police to help gather evidence, and businesses, retailers and members of the public have been encouraged to report anything suspicious "to keep sites and crowded places safe", and "to be vigilant for and report suspicious activity".

He said: "These tactics are proven to be effective in deterring and detecting criminals across a wide range of criminality, including those conducting 'hostile reconnaissance'. This is the information gathering stage criminals and terrorists go through to select their target and plan their activity.

"There is no reason for you to be alarmed by this police activity. In fact, as it becomes a routine part of our job and public awareness of these tactics increases, we are confident you will be reassured that North Yorkshire Police is actively using best practice policing to keep you and your loved ones safe from harm. Ultimately we, like all the other partners involved, want everyone who comes to experience the Tour de Yorkshire to thoroughly enjoy it in a safe environment."

Anything suspicious can be reported to police in person, on 101 or 999 in an emergency, or by contacting the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.