NORTH Yorkshire Police’s county commander says officers will keep a 'watchful eye' out for criminal activity during the Tour de Yorkshire.

Superintendent Paula Booth, who covers Craven, said careful planning goes into policing the three-day event, which gets under way on the east coast on Friday, April 28, heads from Tadcaster to Harrogate on Stage 2, and takes in Skipton and Bolton Abbey on Stage 3 on Sunday, April 30.

Huge crowds of spectators are again expected to line the route to watch the riders as they race around the course.

Supt Booth said: "From a policing point of view, a dedicated team of officers from the four Yorkshire forces have been working hard behind the scenes for months to co-ordinate the police operation.

"The riders will again be escorted around the region by specialist police motorcyclists using rolling road closures.

"This year, there will be an even greater emphasis on crowd safety and crime prevention – targeting everything from pickpocketing to terrorist activity."

To achieve this, teams of police officers will be deployed, an extensive network of CCTV cameras will be used, a network of vigilance amongst staff, businesses and retailers is being developed as is awareness of the public’s role in helping police to keep sites and crowded places safe.

Supt Booth said: "These tactics are proven to be effective in deterring and detecting criminals across a wide range of criminality."

If anyone sees anything suspicious, tell a police officer, call 101 or 999 if an emergency response is required or ring the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

She said: "Ultimately we want everyone who comes to experience the Tour de Yorkshire to thoroughly enjoy it in a safe environment.

"You will see us providing a reassuring and visible presence, and we will be keeping a watchful eye over this magnificent event that we are very proud to support.”