Police out in force for night patrol

PUBLISHED: 11:43 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

The police were out in force

The police were out in force

A large operation involving police, licensing officers and parking attendants took place in Hitchin on Friday night in a bid to reduce crime and increase safety in the town. Comet reporter Hannah Gray went on patrol to see what happened… A 13-YEAR-OLD po

Sniffing around for drugs in Bancroft Recreation Ground

A large operation involving police, licensing officers and parking attendants took place in Hitchin on Friday night in a bid to reduce crime and increase safety in the town. Comet reporter Hannah Gray went on patrol to see what happened...

A 13-YEAR-OLD possessing cannabis and a drunken driver with a home-made bazooka were among the arrests in Operation Spike.

Around 36 people from three agencies took to the streets in an event designed, according Insp Phillip Wright from Hitchin police station, to "reduce crime and disorder, check licensing legislation is being complied with and enhance public safety".

A police officer talks to teenagers in Bancroft Recreation Ground

The main thrust of the operation saw all officers converging on Bancroft Recreation Ground to try to tackle the issue of young people gathering there.

Before Christmas up to 300 youths were congregating on Friday and Saturday nights.

Last Friday there were between 150 and 200 in the ground and police spoke to many of them, while a sniffer dog checked for drugs in the park.

After searching six young men, the officers arrested a 13-year-old for possessing 0.01g of cannabis.

Leading the operation – Insp Phillip Wright (left) and Sgt Steve Mann

He was later cautioned and released.

About 22 containers of alcohol were tipped away by youngsters in the park, and about 30 cans, a tool kit and a glass breaking hammer were discarded there.

Two more arrests were made towards the end of the operation in Market Place, both for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The first driver was caught speeding up Bucklersbury, and also had a home made bazooka-type item with electrical parts in the car, which is now being investigated under firearms legislation.

The second driver got in his car drunk and attempted to drive away.

Elsewhere, licensing officers visited all the major pubs and clubs, issuing a £185 penalty for fly posters in one premises, and giving safety advice to two others.

All door staff were also checked and everything was found to be in order.

Ten taxis were checked, and one driver will receive points on his taxi drivers' licence for not having his badge, not collecting the authorised passenger and having a defective meter.

Parking attendants from North Herts District Council issued 30 tickets for parking violations.

Insp Wright hailed the operation as "very successful".

He added: "The highly visible operation has hopefully contributed to reducing crime and disorder, occurrences of violent crime having been non-existent for its duration.

"I was delighted that there were no major problems with licensed premises in the town - this is a testament to the professionalism of the licensees.

"Protection of youths from drugs and alcohol is also very important because in addition to the health risks, intoxicated youngsters can and do sometimes become victims of crime.

"Long-term solutions to the problems in Bancroft Recreation Ground will be sought in partnership with the district council to enhance safety and reduce nuisance.

"I anticipate further joint operations with North Herts District Council will take place to keep Hitchin a safe and pleasant town.

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