A GROUP of volunteers who provide a “friendly face” for people enjoying a night out have helped reduce the number of violent incidents in
Street Angels was set up last year and recently celebrated its first anniversary.
The group patrols every Saturday night with its members providing a reassuring presence on the streets, as well as flip-flops, bottles of water, general assistance and picking up litter.
PC Jane Jones, who started Street Angels as part of Christian Nightlife Initiatives, said: “We receive much positive feedback from members of the general public for simply being available to help and support.
“The welcome received on the street assure us that Street Angels are offering a useful service in the community.”
Inspector Andy Everitt, head of Ryedale police, said violence and incidents in Malton town centre had continued to fall this year and that the volunteer Street Angels had played their part.
“We know from experience that many incidents of violence and disorder in the night-time economy occur because poor or deteriorating behaviour on the part of individuals or groups is not challenged effectively by persons at an early stage, thus allowing tensions to build,” he said.
“This does not mean a heavy-handed approach, but rather a visible presence and a willingness to engage with such individuals or groups early in the evening while also taking the opportunity to remind them of their responsibilities and need for consideration of others.”
Insp Everitt said Street Angels were supported in Malton by town centre CCTV, which monitored the patrols and provided reassurance to the members.
“Volunteers can also direct CCTV to capture in real-time actual or potential incidents of violence and other offences occurring,” he said.
“However, my biggest concern is for the safety of those people who are vulnerable, or become vulnerable, while out in the night-time economy.
“This can present in a number of ways, such as incapability through drink or drugs, people becoming separated from their friends, un-wanted peer pressure, inability at that time to make the right choices, domestic arguments, the list goes on.”
He said: “We are all familiar with the recent river deaths in York involving young people who are intoxicated and similar dangers exist here in Malton and in Norton.”
Insp Everitt added: “Reducing incidents in the night-time economy is a success that should be shared by us all and I am very grateful to our Street Angel volunteers and to PC Jones who got this valuable initiative going 12 months ago.”
Collection boxes to support Street Angels are available at number of locations in Malton and Norton.
The Street Angels have also been supported by Tate-Smith, Yorkshire Building Society, Fitzwilliam Estate, Yorkshire Housing, Safer Ryedale (Ryedale District Council) and various other businesses.
Volunteers are welcome and anyone interested can phone 101, or call at Malton Police Station, and ask for PC Jane Jones.