Drunk, drug taking and fighting in the street - the anti-social behaviour blighting Sunderland city centre and how police are set to tackle it
Anti-social behaviour is affecting some businesses in Sunderland city centre, but police are set to tackle the issues.
Officers are set to patrol hot spots in the city centre targeting alcohol and drug-related anti-social behaviour carried out by adults.
This has been launched as some businesses raised concerns and the Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) is working with police to tackle the issue.
Small business workers spoke to the Echo about this issue.
Guenghan He, owner of oriental food store, Cook It Yourself, on St Thomas' Street said: “I haven’t had any incidents in my shop but I’ve seen people on the streets outside fighting, usually drunk.
“This isn’t just on an evening, it’s during the day. We have CCTV inside but not outside.”
Wendy Mulvaney owner of Wendy’s place on Fawcett Street said: “I’ve got CCTV inside and outside and that was mandatory when I got my drinks license just in case anything did happen - the police warned us.
“One time someone didn’t like their food so they went berserk and threw the plate up and smashed it off the floor and walked out. Those are the types of people I don’t want here.
“We also had a young lad come in who kept stealing beers out of the fridge and we had to call his social worker.
Wendy said she hoped police patrols would tackle the problems in the city centre and added: “Overall the customers are really nice, we have regulars who come in who are lovely.”
Janice Robson, fruit and veg seller at Didi’s on Blandford Street, said: “We don’t have too much of a problem. Obviously if you get the odd person being antisocial or undesirable, we just talk with them and be nice to them and they are usually nice to you.”
Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) raised concerns about the repeated anti-social behaviour with Northumbria Police.
Police have said they believe the incidents relate to one group of individuals in the city centre and have launched ‘Operation Jasper’ to tackle to problems.
Sergeant Maria Ord will lead Operation Justice. She said: “Our message is simple – anti-social behaviour and criminality will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.”
Sunderland BID operations manager, Kirsty Currie, said: “Ensuring the city centre is a safe environment for businesses, visitors and residents is one of the BID's highest priorities, which is why we are partnering again with Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council and the Bridges on this latest operation.
"Last year's Operation Jasper demonstrated that a united approach can yield great results so if those committing crime and anti-social behaviour think they can get away with it in the city centre, they are simply wasting their time.”