Undercover police officers have initiated special patrols to apprehend individuals engaging in harassment or causing distress to women enjoying a night out in Huddersfield.

The Huddersfield Town Centre Team, along with Special Constables, has launched a discreet operation aimed at safeguarding females during the lead-up to Christmas and apprehending those involved in criminal activities. This initiative, which commenced on November 25, aligns with the force’s commitment to supporting White Ribbon Day, raising awareness about gender-based violence.

During the initial weekend operation, officers intervened with two males in a car for catcalling and drug offences, providing assistance to eight lone women by escorting them to taxi ranks or their homes. Additionally, uniformed officers conducted four licensing visits, and scrutinised door staff and taxi drivers.

This operation forms a part of an array of ongoing efforts to diminish violence against women and vulnerable females in Kirklees. Existing safety initiatives involve the Night Safety Bus, deployed within Huddersfield town centre on busy evenings. The bus, staffed by trained personnel from Change Grow Live’s CHART Kirklees drug and alcohol service and Locala, aids individuals in reporting sexual harassment and offers a secure space during a night out if someone feels threatened.

The Ask for Angela Scheme, allowing women feeling at risk to seek assistance from trained bar staff, remains operational in various venues in the town.

As part of the White Ribbon Day support in Kirklees, officers set up engagement stalls in bus stations and at the University of Huddersfield, where they were available to discuss concerns with women and provide advice.

Sergeant Toni Ramsden of the Huddersfield Town Centre Team, said: “Police take all reports of violence against women and related offences such as harassment very seriously, and believe women should feel safe to walk our streets.

“Harassment of women and girls in any way is unacceptable and through these new patrols, we have been looking to utilise necessary Police and Partnership powers to positively tackle any issues identified at an early stage.

“What we very much want to do is create an atmosphere and culture in Huddersfield in which the harassment of women is seen as unacceptable and in which females can come out and know they will be able to enjoy a night free of unwanted comments and behaviours.

Inspector Mark Pattinson of Kirklees District Police, added: “We have been pleased to support White Ribbon Day in Kirklees as part of our ongoing commitment to improve the safety of women and girls.

“White Ribbon Day itself is intended to raise awareness of violence against females, and we made use of the event to also host a number of advice stalls at which females could attend for advice and support regarding how to report all forms of violence against women.

“Measures such as the night safety bus, ongoing licensing visits and extra patrols are all of course also continuing to help people feel safer, prevent offending, and also encourage reporting of crime which does occur.”