RYEDALE police are to draw up plans to cover possible anti-fracking protests over the coming months.

Inspector Andy Everitt said there had been an increase in planning activity within North Yorkshire Police since the recent announcement by Third Energy of their intention to apply for planning permission to hydraulically fracture one of their existing well sites at Kirby Misperton.

"I have assigned the four members of the Pickering Community Policing team to take ownership of Kirby Misperton and to provide additional support," he told members of North Yorkshire County Council's Ryedale Area Committee.

"I am shortly to meet with my counterpart in Humberside Police who has responsibility for Crawberry Hill and I will then be writing a Community Impact Assessment which will form a key part of our contingency planning.

He said: " It is the intention of North Yorkshire Police to allow people to express their views on this issue and we will of course uphold the rights of all persons to protest provided they remain inside the law."

In his report Insp Everitt said crime performance remained good with continuing reductions in burglary dwelling, criminal damage, theft and violence with injury against the previous year to date. Reported incidents of anti social behaviour in Ryedale had also reduced.

"The only increase in recorded crime is in the ‘violence non-injury’ category however this is due in part to the new Home Office counting rules that include incidents of harassment and also a much more stringent interpretation of what constitutes an assault for the purposes of crime recording," he added.

An increase in reported incidents of domestic violence is also contributing to the above and it is heartening to see more victims of domestic crime now engaging with our Protecting Vulnerable Persons unit and accessing partner agency services."

Insp Everitt said night time economy assaults were also continuing to reduce in Ryedale's towns as co-ordinated partnership initiatives such as Pub-watch, Street Angels, targeted patrolling, use of CCTV, banning of offenders from licensed premises etc have a sustained impact.

"Ryedale Cameras in Action have begun to highlight the funding and administrative challenges currently facing Ryedale CCTV within the Gazette & Herald and I have supported this with an additional article from a local policing perspective," he added.

" It is important to gauge the views of our community on the presence of CCTV in our towns before any final decisions are made to abandon CCTV."

Insp Everitt said vulnerable people within the community was a persistent focus for Ryedale officers and partner agencies with more persons and families being referred to agencies for additional support.

"The availability of legal highs amongst young people and the continuing dangers of on-line grooming and sexual exploitation of young girls over the internet in Ryedale are also key priorities," he added.

Insp Everitt told the committee that the merger of the Ryedale and Whitby policing areas has gone smoothly and the presence of our two new problem solving sergeants was making a significant difference.

"Sgt Donna Musgrove is the Ryedale Problem Solving Sergeant and she has ownership of the Ryedale Beat managers and PCSOs, " he added.

"The five 24/7 patrol sergeants are in place with three at Ryedale and two at Whitby and I can confirm that there are no plans to reduce the number of police staff within Ryedale."