A ZERO tolerance campaign has been launched by police in Sunderland to tackle antisocial behaviour.

The week-long crackdown by Northumbria Police aims to tackle all city centre crime but will specifically target alcohol and drug-related anti-social behaviour among adults.

The Operation Justice initiative, which will see officers actively patrol hotspot areas and work closely with city centre partners, follows concerns raised by the business community over the troubling conduct some individuals whose behaviour appears to be spiralling.

Sergeant Maria Ord, who leads Operation Justice, said police will take robust action against anybody found to be causing disruption in the city centre. She said: “We are committed to ensuring shoppers and families who come into Sunderland city centre enjoy a hassle-free, safe environment, while also ensuring our businesses remain safe and secure.

“Over the last few weeks, we have spoken with Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) and our partners at the Bridges who have voiced concerns about the repeated anti-social behaviour of a group of individuals in our city centre.

“As a result, Operation Justice was launched and we will look to deal with anyone who brings misery to others and ensure our city remains a safe place to live and work.”

Kirsty Currie, operations manager at Sunderland BID, says offenders who think they can simply get away with committing anti-social behaviour are “wasting their time”.

She said: “Ensuring that the city centre is a safe environment for businesses, visitors and residents is one of the BID's highest priorities, which is why we are partnering again with Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council and the Bridges on this latest operation.

"Last year's Operation Jasper demonstrated that a united approach can yield great results so if those committing crime and anti-social behaviour think they can get away with it in the city centre, they are simply wasting their time.”

Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, also welcomed the new operation.

"In recent years the Bridges and the BID have worked together with Northumbria Police on these initiatives which have been hugely successful and highlight what we can achieve when we all work together,” he said.

"We are delighted to be partnering with these organisations again for Operation Justice and to support an additional police presence in the city centre."