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Local policing operation keeps York visitors safe

Last modified: 1 October 2018 at 03:00pm

A new initiative is bringing together York’s Neighbourhood Policing Team and its hotels and B&Bs to ensure that visitors to the city stay safe.

York is an extremely safe place to visit, attracting business and leisure travellers from around the world.

Now local police officers are working with Safer York and the city’s hospitality industry to help keep all visitors safe, including those who might be vulnerable or at risk.

Under ‘Project Grace’, led by York Neighbourhood Policing officers, every hotel and B&B in the city will be visited by a member of the team. They will talk to staff about safety and security, and provide them with an information pack to raise awareness about vulnerability issues.

The project’s key aim is to improve the sharing of information between hotels and the police, to promote safeguarding of both staff and guests, and increase safety and security within the hospitality industry.

In particular, officers will be offering advice on what to look for to identify the signs of:
• Child sexual exploitation
• Human trafficking and modern slavery
• Sex workers who may have been victims of crime
• Those involved in ‘county lines’ (organised crime networks selling drugs outside their usual operating area)
• Cyber attacks targeting personal data and other security issues

In addition, hotels will be urged to sign up to North Yorkshire Community Messaging system, so police crime prevention messages and missing person alerts can be shared quickly and effectively across the city.

Inspector Lee Pointon, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “York is an extremely safe place to visit, and we want to make sure it says that way for everyone.

“Working closely with hotels and B&Bs means we can recognise those who might be vulnerable or at risk at the earliest opportunity. Although such occurrences are thankfully rare, if they do happen, we can be confident that they will be flagged up and we can respond appropriately.”

Kevin McAleese and Simon Westwood, chairs of the City of York Safeguarding Boards for adults and children respectively, said: “People come to work in and to visit York knowing it’s one of the safest cities in the country.

“Initiatives which makes it an even safer place for workers and visitors, and which raises awareness of safeguarding in the hospitality sector, are only to be welcomed. This is an encouraging development which we fully support.”

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