Extra policing on Metro to deal with anti-social behaviour in North Tyneside

A Metro train
3 April 2023

An anti-social behaviour operation that received fantastic results in its infancy has been rolled out for a second year across North Tyneside.

Resulting in a 30% reduction of ASB in its first year, Operation Maple was launched in 2022 as a joint initiative between Northumbria Police, North Tyneside Council and Nexus.

And this year, officers are confident the successes of the previous year will be replicated. 

The project focuses on all coastal Metro stations between Meadow Well and Northumberland Park during the spring and summer months as a result of proven demand and increased visitors into the area. 

The key facet of Operation Maple sees uniformed and plain-clothed officers ride the Metro network for entire shifts during these periods to provide a visible a policing presence, offer reassurance to the public and swiftly deal with any pockets of disorder.

This runs alongside active engagement by police and partners with young people in the community to provide education though school programmes – with the aim to inspire and encourage participation in diversionary schemes.

Neighbourhood Inspector for the area, Jennifer Scott, of Northumbria Police, said: “We’re extremely lucky to live in such an idyllic area with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. 

“It’s easy to see why so many people want to visit, but we want to make sure everyone has a pleasant experience whilst feeling safe and treating these areas respectfully. 

“Operation Maple is the perfect example of the benefits that true partnership working can bring when responding to what matters to local communities. The impact on crime and anti-social behaviour is significant and is a priority for our collaborative approach in this area.”

She added: “There were almost 2.5 million visits to Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, and North Shields between April and September 2022 – we need to ensure we are ensuring all those visitors are able to come to the area and enjoy themselves without their experience being tarnished by the behaviour of a minority. 

“As ever, I’d ask the wider community to help us help you. I want to encourage parents and carers to continue to engage and work with police around ASB. Please speak to your children about where they are heading, what they are doing and the potential consequences of getting mixed up in this type of activity.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support, and by working together, we can continue to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour and minimise criminality in our coastal areas and at our transport hubs.”

The operation is also supported by dedicated security officers from Nexus who provide a visible presence and reassurance to all users on the Metro network. 

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Extra policing on Metro this summer is really welcome and will help to deter anti-social behaviour and fare evasion.

“Our customer support staff and security teams will be on duty alongside officers from the Northumbria force during Operation Maple. 

“The police, Nexus and the local authorities are working together to keep the transport system safe and secure. Our stations are major gateways into North Tyneside and we want to ensure journeys by the law abiding majority of customers aren’t spoiled by a small minority of troublemakers. Metro is a safe system to travel on and we are determined to keep it that way. 

“There are going to be police officers in plain clothes patrolling on the Metro system as part of this operation. Anyone who thinks about causing trouble may want to think again, as they are likely to get caught out and face prosecution.”

This activity will be bolstered by North Tyneside’s Community Protection Team who will conduct regular patrols using CCTV vans – identifying any instances of disorder and offering support to officers. 

Richard Mitchell, Community and Public Space Protection Manager at North Tyneside Council, said: “As we gear up for another busy summer season in North Tyneside, we are proud to be working with Northumbria Police and Nexus again to keep public transport and surrounding areas safe. This operation had a big impact in its first year and we hope that people will be reassured by its return, alongside other joint operations in and around the coast.”

The operation also has the full support of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, who said: “More police out on the streets and on our transport links – it’s what people tell me they want to see and Operation Maple delivers just that. 

“We have a special coastline here in the North East, and as more people head out to enjoy it, they can expect to see more visible policing too. And crucially we have to be supporting officers in the fight against crime - with key prevention work. 

“I’m keen to give kids opportunities to gain skills and keep busy over the summer, so we block the temptation to get involved with trouble. That’s why my office and the Violence Reduction Unit is funding various youth programme and community initiatives.

“There really is a lot happening over the next few months, and hopefully all together this will keep anti-sociable behaviour down for the people of Tynemouth and nearby."

 

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Operation Maple

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