NORTHUMBRIA POLICE’s Operation Cloak has been praised in parliament, as the force continues to lead the way with efforts to keep people safe when enjoying a night out in Newcastle.

In a debate at the House of Commons on women’s safety on Wednesday (11, January) Sarah Jones MP, Shadow Mister for Policing and Fire Service, cited police work happening in the North East of England as a positive example of how we protect the vulnerable in the night time economy.

First launched in 2019, with the backing of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, Operation Cloak sees dedicated officers placed in busy areas or out on patrol across the city. Officers look for signs someone may be vulnerable or in need of help and identify those who may be out to commit offences.

The police-led initiative involves teaming up with Newcastle City Council, licensees, door supervisors, hotel staff and taxi drivers and is part of a city-wide commitment to reassure partygoers and helping them enjoy a night out in a safe and friendly environment.

Highting Northumbria’s proactive policing of the city at night Ms Jones said: “There is good work being done across the country on this. In Northumbria, Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has placed dedicated officers on patrol in Newcastle’s bustling night-time economy, which I enjoyed when I was at Durham University.”

In the latest round of Safer Streets funding, the Police Commissioner’s office secured nearly £2 million to progress work to make public spaces safer with plans that promised more patrols, more interventions and more education.

PCC Kim McGuinness, who recently joined officers out patrolling in the night time economy, said: “Operation Cloak is one of many measures in place to keep women safe across Tyneside. It’s about protecting those who may be vulnerable on a night out and targeting anyone looking to commit offences. It was a key part of the force’s policing plans over Christmas and a lot of good results came from it. I’m glad the hard work that goes into it is getting the recognition it deserves – and not just from politicians, but other police forces and also the very people it’s designed to help who are out enjoying our nightlife.

“I’m really proud of Northumbria Police’s work on this but real change can’t just be about policing. The bigger picture has to be about educating men and young about respect My office is exploring behaviour change programmes for young men exhibiting inappropriate behaviours – we have lots in the pipeline on this and it will continue to be an ongoing priority.”