Why you will see more police in Leeds city centre this weekend
Criminals intent on causing trouble across Leeds city centre this weekend will be dealt with robustly- a police boss has warned.
Extra police patrols will be out across the city for the start of the Christmas festivities as part of Operation Nightsafe Two, which runs across the whole weekend.
West Yorkshire Police has joined forces with various agencies including Safer Leeds, Trading Standards and Immigration, as part of the crackdown on serious and violent crime.
Knife arches will also be located at various points across the city to deter anyone carrying a weapon.
Chief Inspector Richard Padwell said: "This is an ongoing operation around making people feel as safe as possible around Leeds city centre.
"We are working with many different agencies and it is all about prevention, education and enforcement. We are starting early Friday afternoon and going through until about 6am Saturday and then start again at 4pm on Saturday and work right through until 6am on Sunday. It is a highly visible operation and it is split into six different themes.
"We have lots of police officers around from our different operations so we have Jemlock which is all about knife crime so we will have knife arches out at various points across the city.
"There will be uniformed and plain-clothed officers out there to keep people safe and take action against anybody carrying a weapon or committing other offences.
There will also be Sober Space at Leeds Train Station where anyone who has had too much to drink can go and recover while waiting to catch a train home.
Operation Nightsafe Two follows a similar imitative back in June which had great success.
Chief Insp Padwell said: "During that weekend we didn't have any robberies in the city centre at all and there was a lower volume of offences reported to us.
"We had reports of people feeling safer and secure.
"It's about making sure we are interacting with people whether they are travelling into the city centre, whether they are working here or shopping or on a night out.
"Today is Black Friday and the start of the holiday and Christmas party season and there will be a lot of people out and about so it is really important we interact with people and make sure they are aware of all the activity taking place."
Police will be able to issue Section 35 dispersal orders to anyone causing trouble, meaning they will be banned from returning to the city centre for 48 hours.
Chief Insp Padwell said: "The message is clear. If you are intent on causing trouble then stay away because you will be under close scrutiny.
"We have a range of agencies assisting is and there will be a highly visible presence..
"We will respond quickly and assertively to anyone causing trouble."