RIPON residents turned out in force to voice their crime concerns at a meeting where a senior police officer admitted some issues have gone on for “far too long”.

Inspector Alex Langley insisted reducing 101 call times and bringing a suspect interview room to Ripon was a priority for North Yorkshire Police.

He was confronted by concerned residents and councillors at the Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre on Monday night when the crowd contested figures which showed an improving picture of crime in the city.

Ripon Minster and Moorside county councillor Andrew Williams said the statistics “bore no correlation at all” with what residents were experiencing on the streets.

He told Insp Langley: “The experience of residents on the ground is a police service where you can’t even get an answer on the 101 service within half-an-hour, so people don’t actually bother ringing up.

“Anti-social behaviour in this city is a major concern for many residents.

“I don’t want you to start your presentation this evening trying to convince residents we are heading in the right direction, because we are certainly not.”

Ripon Minster borough councillor Pauline McHardy also said policing in the city has gone “right downhill” since the North Street police station closed in 2018.

She said: “We very rarely see police walking the streets like we used to – we would like to see more officers on the beat.

“We have also been promised changes to 101 for years.

“I get calls from elderly people who say they have called 101 but couldn’t wait any longer so just hung up. These are crimes that are not being reported and affecting vulnerable people in our city.”

Insp Langley responded to say his staff were working with their “backs to the wall” to improve public safety in Ripon and that extra patrols could be arranged, but it would come at a cost.

He said: “If you want to have a police officer walking up and down your street, that is something I can organise.

“But the issue is if they are doing that high visibility patrol, they are potentially not doing something else. They might not be investigating a crime or at a safeguarding meeting or preventing a vulnerable person coming to harm. There is always a trade off.”

He also admitted there are “real challenges” with the non-emergency 101 service at North Yorkshire Police which has long been criticised for delays, and said there are plans to open an interview room in Ripon in order to save officers having to travel to Harrogate when suspects are arrested and need questioning.

Insp Langley told residents: “I understand your concerns and the issues around estates and 101 – these challenges need resolving 100 per cent and have been going on far too long.

“At the coal face where my team is, they are working as hard as they can.”