Covert police patrols are underway in Huddersfield town centre to help keep women safe.

Officers in plain clothes want to catch those harassing or causing distress to women enjoying a night out in the town.

The patrols started on November 25 as part of a commitment by West Yorkshire Police to support White Ribbon Day which raises awareness of gender-based violence.

During the first weekend’s operation, officers stopped and dealt with two males in a car for cat calling and drugs offences, and helped eight lone women either to taxi ranks or home.

Four licensing visits were also conducted by uniformed officers, and police also checked door staff and taxi drivers.

The operation was just part of a plethora of ongoing work to reduce violence against women and vulnerable females in Kirklees.

Ongoing safety initiatives include the Night Safety Bus which continues to be deployed within Huddersfield town centre on busy evenings.

Its team of trained staff from Change Grow Live’s CHART Kirklees drug and alcohol service and Locala help people report sexual harassment and provide a safe space on a night out if someone is feeling threatened.

The Ask for Angela Scheme, through which women who feel at risk can ask trained bar staff for assistance, also continues to operate in venues in the town.

Sgt Toni Ramsden, of the Huddersfield Town Centre Team, said: “Police take all reports of violence against women and related offences such as harassment very seriously, and believe women should feel safe to walk our streets.

“Harassment of women and girls in any way is unacceptable and through these new patrols we have been looking to utilise necessary police and partnership powers to positively tackle any issues identified at an early stage.

“What we very much want to do is create an atmosphere and culture in Huddersfield in which the harassment of women is seen as unacceptable and in which females can come out and know they will be able to enjoy a night free of unwanted comments and behaviours.”