NORTH Yorkshire police have warned they will deploy all staff and use all the powers they have to control anti-social behaviour and protect communities during the pandemic.

The force’s 1,500 officers have issued 1,100 fixed penalty notices so far during the Covid-19 crisis.That figure is just three fewer than London’s Metropolitan Police, which has 32,000 officers, Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker told a briefing of resilience forum leaders,

The warnings come after issues at beauty spots including Richmond Batts, Malham Cove and Thomason Foss on the North York Moors where large groups of people were dispersed by officers.

Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said there had been many complaints of anti-social behaviour, littering and urinating, parking issues and speeding drivers – including motorcyclists.

"It is really disappointing the lack of respect visitors have shown to communities in North Yorkshire,” she said.

ACC Walker said the force has engaged with thousands of people and, with the latest relaxation of the lockdown, will be reminding people they can only meet in groups of six.

He added: “We have had a problem of people travelling into North Yorkshire breaching restrictions and not going home.

"We do try to engage and encourage and not everyone then leaves – that is when we have to enforce using dispersal powers. We still have a plethora of powers to use if people demonstrate anti-social behaviour.

"Our strategy is to put as many officers, volunteers and specials out into the communities as we can to deal with this behaviour, as well as dealing with ongoing criminality such as taking drug dealers off the streets. We will continue policing those communities to give the reassurances needed.”

Chief Constable Lisa Winward said there had been some really irresponsible behaviour and the police had taken action but there was frustration that they could not enforce social distancing.

“People have to act responsibly – residents have the right to the peaceful enjoyment of the place they live,” she added.