New police commander for York sets out priorities

My top three goals for policing York & Selby District… and how we’re going to achieve them

Meet the new police commander of  York & Selby District, Superintendent Mark Khan. As the most senior officer in the district, he makes big decisions that affect how policing is delivered for hundreds of thousands of people. He says:

Last week, I became commander of a district that includes one of the safest cities in England, which is also in the safest county in England. Those aren’t hollow claims, they are facts based on government analysis of a huge amount of crime data.

Facts like that can be very reassuring to people who live or work in this wonderful district. But they don’t mean everything is perfect. We deal with thousands of serious crimes a year in York and Selby. That means thousands of victims, thousands of lives affected by crime.

And they certainly don’t mean we should be complacent as a police force. I’ve been a police officer for almost 30 years – I know that the moment the police stop trying to improve and evolve would be the moment criminals gained the upper hand.

There’s always scope for progress, no matter how effectively things have been done in the past.

So I’m going to share my three top goals for policing the York & Selby District and explain how we’re going to achieve them.

Goal 1. Ensuring public spaces are kept safe for all, day and night

Public spaces are, by definition, for everyone to enjoy. If people who use a town or city centre, park or other communal areas feel intimidated or are at risk of crime, something is wrong. The lawless minority does not have a right to ruin public spaces for the law-abiding majority.

We’ve already made big strides in tackling this and there’s excellent work happening as we speak. We’re using dispersal orders to stamp out antisocial behaviour at key points right now – and we’re backing them up with a strong police presence so people feel safe, however they choose to use public spaces. I want to see that continue for as long as the need exists. Yes, there’s more work to do, and yes, we’ll do it.

As you read this, we’re also doing work with other organisations to prepare for the full reopening of the night-time economy after July 19 and planning how we police high footfall areas with maximum impact. The night-time economy is a big part of our district’s economy and people are welcome to come here to enjoy their leisure time. Millions of people manage to do that legally, safely and respectfully every year. We won’t tolerate those who don’t.


Goal 2. Tackling the harm drugs and alcohol do to our communities

Communities are damaged by crime. Crime is often fuelled by drug or alcohol misuse. So I want to ensure we get to the root cause of this issue. I want to build on the good work with partners like local authorities, the local hospitality sector and the wider community that has seen scores of troublemakers banned from pubs and bars and the tiny minority of rogue businesses that perpetuate this trouble held to account.  

But illegal drugs present different challenges. We know that early intervention – getting people the support they need before addiction really takes over – works wonders. I’m keen to see us develop that approach further, to prevent the cycle between drugs and crime taking hold in the first place especially among young people.

Most of the drugs in our district are brought in from other areas. This is often done by ‘county lines’ gangs which also import violence, exploitation, misery and fear. Our excellent Expedite team has led our force’s response to this – hundreds of drug dealers are in prison as a result. We will police York and Selby in a way that makes it a totally hostile environment to everyone involved in this repugnant trade, from low-level street dealers to organised crime ringleaders. I know we will have the full support of our communities.

 Goal 3. Keeping our roads, and everyone who uses them, safe

One of the ways we can keep drug gangs and other criminals out of our communities is to intercept them before they even reach their destination. We have skilled teams like our Operational Support Unit and Roads Policing Group who specialise in this. And we’ll be sharing some of their skills with officers from our local policing teams.

But road policing is much more than ridding our routes of criminals. Last year, almost 40 people died on North Yorkshire’s roads and more than 250 were seriously injured. One in six of those serious injuries happened in our district.

Virtually all were due to driver or rider error. It’s a heartbreaking figure but we know we can do something about it. We’ll be bringing more targeted road safety education and enforcement operations to York & Selby District – initiatives like Operation Boundary, which focuses a high volume of police units on key routes and pays particular attention to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists. And we’ll use the skills, resources and expertise of the York & North Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership to do everything in our power to reduce those harrowing statistics.


Let me be very clear – these are by no means our only priorities and we won’t fixate on these at the expense of the many other issues we deal with.

But I’m fully aware they’re big challenges. We’re setting the bar high.

These sort of goals need a clear plan. So we’re going to focus on maintaining high investigative standards to ensure we put together robust cases that bring people to justice.

What’s more, we’re not just going to respond to crime. We’re going to respond and then aim to fix the problem, to prevent us dealing with the same issues over and over again. Prevention and early intervention is key.

And to solve problems we need to share skills. We’ll share them with other organisations and ensure we recruit and retain people who understand the issues we’re trying to address, represent the communities we serve and have the skills and determination to make positive changes.

I know that’s been a long read, but it’s important we share our ideas and ambitions for York & Selby District with you.

Without public support it would be impossible for us to police. And without the information supplied by the public we’d be working in the dark.

So if you have concerns or information about any offences in York & Selby District, from antisocial behaviour to drink driving to drug dealing, share it with us by calling 101 and selecting option 1. Every report is taken seriously and it helps us build our policing response around the issues affecting our communities.

Together we can make one of the safest places in England an even safer place to live, work and visit. And that’s an exceptional goal we can all share.

Hob Moor incident – Court decision

The media are reporting that a woman arrested following a disturbing incident on Hob Moor last June has received a suspended prison sentence for the offence.

The woman is understood to have left the City.

101 busy

Meanwhile the police are facing a growing wave of crime reports which is leaving their control room very busy.

Below is the official North Yorkshire Police Online reporting system for those reporting non urgent crime that would prefer to do it this way rather than the 101 telephone reporting system.

Police issue warning over counterfeit bank notes

North Yorkshire Police has had several reports of counterfeit cash being used in the last few weeks to pay for a range of items including secondhand goods and takeaways.

Most reports have been from the York area but we believe the currency maybe used elsewhere in the county too. The fake notes have been used to pay for second hand items bought through Facebook Marketplace and Ebay, as well as for food items and takeaways.

The currency is very crudely created, the notes tend to be opaque and much thicker material than authentic notes. Many of the notes have also been printed ‘Poonds’ instead of ‘Pounds’ and some even feature the small print: ‘This money is play money for video movie use only’.

We’re urging the public to be extremely careful when accepting cash payments and to check that notes are genuine. The Bank of England have the following advice around checking for genuine notes:

  • Tilt the note from side to side. Check the images change between a ‘£’ symbol and the number ’20’.
  • Hold the note up to the light. Check there is a bright ‘£20’ at the top of the Queen’s portrait.
  • There are alternating images of Adam Smith along the foil strip. The position of foil patches can vary on notes. To the right of the Chief Cashier’s signature, the number ’20’ is embossed over the foil strip.
  • The note is printed on special paper that gives it a unique feel. On the front of the note, you can feel raised print. For example, on the words ‘Bank of England’ and in the bottom right corner, around the number ’20’.
  • Under a good quality ultra-violet light, the number ’20’ appears in bright red and green on the front of the note, against a duller background. You can see bright red and green flecks on both the front and back of the note.
  • A metallic thread is embedded in the note and appears as silver dashes on the back. When the note is held up to the light, the thread appears as a continuous dark line.

An investigation into these counterfeit notes is currently ongoing and if you think you have been paid using counterfeit currency, please call 101 to report this. Ref: 12210103581

A new partnership launches in York to tackle underage drinking

A Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) was launched in York on Monday (12 April 2021) to highlight the risks of underage drinking and improve the health and wellbeing of local young people.

York Community Alcohol Partnership logo

CAPs are made up of partnerships between local authorities, police, schools, retailers, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to prevent alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents. 215 schemes have now been launched across England, Scotland and Wales. 

In York, partners include North Yorkshire Police, City of York Council, Licensing, Youth Justice, Youth Commission, schools, alcohol retailers and community organisations.

The CAP will work with youth services and local organisations to provide alcohol-free activities for young people. It will also work with local schools to take a proactive approach to alcohol education and ensure that young people are equipped to make the right decisions about issues including alcohol and drugs and anti-social and criminal behaviour. Working with local retailers aims to help them avoid making underage sales and reduce ‘proxy’ sales where adults buy alcohol for under-18s.

The national CAP annual report, launched at the end of March, shows how this innovative partnership approach has brought significant reductions around the UK in alcohol supply to children, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and underage street drinking.

Nationally, CAP evaluations for the period 2016-2020 show:

  • 61% average reductions in weekly drinking among 13-16 year olds
  • 99% of retailers passed Challenge 25 compliance test for alcohol sales
  • 86% of retailers did not sell alcohol when they suspected it was a ‘proxy’ sale
  • 50% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them
  • 42% reduction in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour

Derek Lewis, chair of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of a CAP in York.  Underage drinking is associated with school and educational problems, unprotected sex, drug-taking, violence and drinking problems in later life. In just over a decade CAP has set up more than 200 partnerships around the UK and our evaluations show they are having a significant impact on reducing children’s alcohol consumption, improving their health and wellbeing and enhancing the communities where they live.”

Appeal following assault at Askham Bar, York

Officers are appealing for witnesses and information following an assault near Tesco at Askham Bar, York.

The incident happened on Monday 8 March at around 11.40am when an 18 year old was assaulted as he left the Tesco store making his way back to York College. It happened on the ramp that leads from the Tesco carpark to the crossing on Tadcaster Rd.

The suspect is described as a white man, of student age, around 5ft 11in in height, with brown hair and of medium build. He was believed to be wearing wearing a light grey hoodie and dark brown skinny jeans and grey trainers.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police. Dial 101, press 2 and ask to speak to PC Darren Cox.

Please quote reference number  12210073613 when passing on any information.

North Yorkshire Community Messaging is moving

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North Yorkshire Police say that they have today sent out communication to all those currently signed up to receive our Community Messaging alerts to let you know that we are moving to a new platform.

This will mean you will need to sign up again to continue receiving alerts and can do so at our website here: Community Messaging – North Yorkshire Police | North Yorkshire Police or by visiting the North Yorkshire Community Messaging website at:

Please be assured the message you have received is not a scam, a copy of the message sent out is below:

North Yorkshire Community Messaging is moving!

We’re making some improvements to the service we deliver to you through Community Messaging and as part of this we are moving to a new system which requires you to sign up again.

All you need to do is click here and re-register to ensure you continue receiving our alerts. It’s essential you do this otherwise you won’t be kept up to date with the latest crime appeals, scam alerts and policing work in your local community.

Our current system will cease on 31st March 2021 and there will be a short pause in the alerts we send out whilst we get everything ready on the new system but you can keep up to date with your local policing team through their social media accounts which you can find here.

Thank you for your understanding whilst we make these important changes.

Police presence in Spindle Close, Foxwood.

Police are currently at the scene of an incident in Spindle Close in York with concerns for the welfare of a distressed person inside a property.

Specially trained officers are at the scene and are working to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.

The incident is contained within the property and officers believe there is no threat to the wider community.

Thank you to local people who may be affected by the policing presence, for their patience and understanding while this is ongoing.

Catalytic converter theft suspects in custody thanks to York resident’s vigilance

Two men have been arrested in connection with catalytic converter theft in York this morning.

At 3am today, a member of the public called North Yorkshire Police reporting suspicious activity in the Dringhouses area of the city.

Officers responded immediately, and a short time later located a red Honda Civic near Wetherby. The car was stopped and searched, and a catalytic converter and a number of tools were found in the boot.

A Honda Civic stopped in connection with catalytic converter theft in York
A catalytic converter in the boot of car stopped by police

Two men inside, aged 29 and 34, were arrested on suspicion of theft and vehicle interference. They remain in custody at this time. The vehicle was seized for forensic examination.

Earlier this year, North Yorkshire Police launched an operation to clamp down on catalytic converter thefts in York, after an increase in these incidents. High prices for precious metals and the popularity of hybrid vehicles are believed to be two of the factors behind the increase.

At the time, Sgt Laura Cromwell said: “While overall vehicle crime in York is low, catalytic converter theft is an increasingly common crime in our area. That’s why we’ve increased patrols, and are urging residents to take steps to protect their vehicles. If you notice suspicious activity around vehicles, contact the police – if you have information, call 101, and if a crime is in progress, call 999 immediately.”

Since the launch of the operation, high-visibility, proactive patrols, linked to ANPR and police intelligence, have make it increasingly difficult for criminals to operate in the city undetected.

Meanwhile, motorists are being urged to continue taking extra precautions to protect their vehicles:

  • Park your car in a locked garage where possible, or a well-lit and populated area
  • Park close to fences, walls or a kerb, or alongside other vehicles, to make theft more difficult. Avoid parking half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
  • If you are responsible for a fleet of vehicles, park the low-clearance vehicles to block the high-clearance vehicles and obstruct access underneath
  • Ask your local garage about security measures such as a cage device to lock around the converter, a tilt sensor to activate an alarm if the vehicle is jacked up, or equipment to etch a serial number on the converter itself.
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the police. If a crime is in progress, dial 999. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.

Officers are working closely with local authorities, and posters warning about catalytic converter theft are displayed at locations across the city. In addition, scrap metal dealers in the region are being asked to be on the lookout for people attempting to sell on catalytic converters, and pass any information to the police.

Appeal following suspected Arson at York library

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an incident of suspected Arson at Tang Hall Explore Library.

The incident happened some time between 3pm on Saturday 27 February  and 8.30am on Monday 1 March  and involved an area outside of the building being damaged by fire

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about anyone who was seen in the area or who saw the fire.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Nicola Russell.

You can also email

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12210069072.


There have also been problems with theft and vandalism on the other side of the City in Foxwood recently. There have been thefts from the community centre garden, fencing has been damaged and windows broken. One empty council bungalow has been a particular target.

CCTV footage suggests teenagers are responsible.

Police are asking anyone who sees any crimes being committed to ring 999 immediately

York Council set to scrap crime prevention fund

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The City’s £250,000 “Safer Communities Fund” is set to be scrapped.

The crime busting scheme was one of the first initiatives announced by the new LibDem/Green administration in July 2019.

Use of ward budgets for “target hardening” works over the last 2 decades had been a popular choice by local residents.

Stronger fencing, ,CCTV cameras, more robust street furniture, anti climb paint, snicket/alley closures, improved lighting and many other improvements had been funded from this source.

A report last year explained the purpose of the new Fund.

As part of the council’s Supplementary Budget Proposals agreed on
17 July Council, £250k was awarded to wards as a “Safer
Communities Fund”. The allocation of this funding, in proportion to
population in the normal way, is shown in Annex 1.

Building on the success of the Community Care fund it is proposed that the Safer Communities Fund is operated in a similar way in that it is added into ward revenue funds so that it can be used flexibly by wards on any projects that meet residents’ priorities in terms of creating safer communities.

It is suggested that the planned impact of the spend should be set out in advance and the subsequent outcomes evaluation (see para 25 below concerning evaluation).

Evaluation could be developed in partnership with the Community Safety Team who would also be able to provide evidence-based examples of good practice so that we are able to encourage community groups to put forward good proposals within a flexible budget regime which is operated in line with policies and procedures for ward funding.

PCSOs could also be consulted as part of the ward team as they will
be able to bring useful views to the table and this will provide an
excellent opportunity to strengthen ties between wards and the police.

While it is fair to say that the new scheme has remained something of a enigma to most residents, concerns about crime levels generally – and anti social behavior in particular – remain a high in several neighbourhoods.

In recent years, the Councils attempt to delegate spending power to local communities has been flawed.

A £1 million ward highways budget was divided between equally highways improvements and walking cycling schemes. The latter was spent almost entirely on projects in the south east part of the City.

A year later it is difficult to identify any roads or paths that have benefited. This may partly be because the Council fails to maintain a list of schemes on its web site with appropriate progress reports.

There is a stronger sense of local community in the wake of the pandemic.

People do want to be involved in decision making.

But the current processes used by the Council fail to fully engage people.

Perhaps the increased use of social media seen during the Lockdowns offers a clue as to how engagement levels can be raised in the future.

In the meantime, the Council must explain how it will improve the level of support that it offers to those policing our streets.