Operation Coastwatch: Summer operation to tackle anti-social behaviour returns

A summer initiative which has seen antisocial behaviour fall to a 10-year low along the North Tyneside coast is set to return.  

Operation Coastwatch launched in 2014, with North Tyneside Council working alongside Northumbria Police and Nexus to tackle pockets of disorder along the award-winning coastline. 

The operation runs from April to October and has led to a significant decrease in anti-social behaviour in the coastal area.  

New figures show a 17.4% drop in antisocial behaviour for 2023/2024 compared to the same period in the previous year, with reported incident falling from 590 to 489, the lowest since recording began a decade ago.  

The operation aims to reassure the community and take swift action to prevent disorderly incidents during spells of warm weather.  

As in previous years, Operation Coastwatch includes extra foot patrols, preventative work at Metros to disrupt and stop any disorder before it reaches communities, and beach wardens to monitor coastal activity. 

Council staff patrol the beaches to monitor against litter and antisocial behaviour and the Community and Public Space Protection Team will work alongside Northumbria Police colleagues to provide reassurance to local people. 

Community groups such as Cullercoats Collective and Totally Tynemouth will provide support and be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the partnership. 

Officers will gather cross-agency intelligence on anyone found to be taking part in criminality or disorder as well as carrying out modified CCTV plans to best utilise resources and capture disorder for prosecutions. 

As well as the established elements of the scheme, the council and Police are keen to find volunteers for Community Speed Watch (CSW), a national initiative focused on educating drivers about road safety, using volunteers operating speed detection equipment, from the roadside, to report errant speeding motorists. The scheme is only active in North Shields but there are plans to extend its reach across the Borough. Those interested in volunteering can sign up through the Northumbria Police website. 

Councillor Karen Clark, Cabinet Member for Community safety and tackling anti-social behaviour, said: "I'm delighted to see Operation Coastwatch return for the summer of 2024.  

“This initiative underscores our commitment to keeping our beautiful coastline safe and welcoming for everyone. 

“By working together with our partners, Northumbria Police and Nexus, we're sending a clear message that antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated and that we are ready to play our part.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Michael Hood, of Northumbria Police, said: “We know that the anti-social behaviour of a few can have a detrimental impact on our communities – and that’s why we run dedicated operations with our partners all year round to minimise incidents and tackle any disorder head-on.

“In North Tyneside specifically, we will be re-launching the very successful Operation Maple which reaped some fantastic results previously. This sees uniformed and plain-clothed officers riding the Metro network during busy periods in our coastal areas to provide a visible policing presence, offering reassurance to the public and swiftly dealing with any pockets of disorder.

“Then in the coming months, we will again be supporting Operation Coastwatch which is an incredibly successful long-standing partnership with the council and Nexus, and has helped reduce anti-social behaviour rates year-on-year.

“These operations will be supported by our Maritime Policing Unit, who also play an invaluable role, using their expertise on the water to quickly attend incidents and keep people safe.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support, and by working together, we can continue to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour and minimise criminality in our coastal areas and at our transport hubs.”

Erika Allen, Quality, Health, Safety, Security and Environment Director at Nexus, said: “Metro is a major gateway into the North Tyneside coastline over the summer months, and we want people to come and enjoy it, but we don’t want a minority of troublemakers to spoil it for everyone else.

“We’re working closely with the police and our local authority partners again this year through Operation Coastwatch.  Metro is a safe system and we are determined to keep it that way.

“These operations are proving successful in dealing with any issue that arise, including anti-social behaviour and fare evasion.

“This builds on the work we have already done to improve safety and security on the transport network, including the roll out of our dedicated security teams, investment in new CCTV, and the launch of our new text message alert system to allow customers to contact the Metro control room more easily.

“Our message remains the same: anyone who thinks about causing trouble on Metro, or in those popular coastal beauty spots served by Metro, may want to think again, as they are likely to get caught and face prosecution.”

Anybody who is concerned about anti-social behaviour in their area, or is aware of any criminality, is asked to report it to us by speaking to an officer on patrol, via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or calling 101.