Harpoon targets underage drinkers on Sunderland’s beaches

Operation Harpoon at Roker Pier.
PC Gary Mee and PC Anne Pearson with Sunderland City Partnership Harry Trueman
Operation Harpoon at Roker Pier. PC Gary Mee and PC Anne Pearson with Sunderland City Partnership Harry Trueman
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Police are hitting the beach to crack down on antisocial behaviour this summer.

The sunny days usually see a rise in anti-social behaviour - often caused by underage drinking - on the beaches in Roker and Seaburn.

Operation Harpoon at Roker Pier.
PC Gary Mee and PC Anne Pearson with Sunderland City Partnership Harry Trueman

Operation Harpoon at Roker Pier. PC Gary Mee and PC Anne Pearson with Sunderland City Partnership Harry Trueman

Now Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team has joined forces with Sunderland City Council to launch ‘Operation Harpoon’ in a bid to tackle the problem.

Now in its third year, Operation Harpoon sees police carry out regular patrols in and around the beaches specifically on the look out for underage drinkers.

Anyone underage found drinking alcohol will have it confiscated. Anyone found to be a ringleader in anti-social behaviour will be warned by police, and those who are persistently involved will be visited at home.

Local Neighbourhood Inspector Don Wade said: “We’re very lucky in Sunderland to be by the sea and have a fantastic coastline and golden beaches, they’re a great attraction and a great place for everyone to enjoy and we want to make sure they remain that way.

People love to spend time at the beach and we don’t want to have their time ruined by groups of teenagers causing anti-social behaviour and creating a nuisance because they have been drinking alcohol when they shouldn’t.

Insp Don Wade

“People love to spend time at the beach and we don’t want to have their time ruined by groups of teenagers causing anti-social behaviour and creating a nuisance because they have been drinking alcohol when they shouldn’t.

“In previous years Operation Harpoon has proved successful in helping us to reduce anti-social behaviour and we’re hoping once again our proactive response to tackling anti-social behaviour will have a positive effect and our communities will see a difference.

“I would also like to ask parents and people with parental responsibility to work with us and make sure they know where their children are when they go out and what they are doing. I’m sure most parents would not want us turning up on their doorstep with their child in tow because they have been causing nuisance - or worse - are under the influence of alcohol and putting themselves in danger as a result of being intoxicated.”

The operation involves the usage of 4G cameras and detached youth workers will also be out and about in the area

City council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman is chairman of the Safer Sunderland Partnership: “Our beautiful beaches are there for us all to enjoy,” he said.

“We don’t want the anti-social behaviour of a tiny minority to spoil that, which is why we have this annual campaign to remind everyone of their responsibilities.

“Increased patrols are a visible reminder that such behaviour won’t be tolerated , and visits to the parental homes of those young people acts as a personal reminder to their families that underage drinking is a criminal offence.

“If we all work together we can identify any problems early, and then take the appropriate action to safeguard our young people and prevent any problems from escalating.”

For more information about what police are doing in the city follow @npsunderland on Twitter and visit the Northumbria Police Southern Area Command Sunderland facebook pages.