|Operation Reindeer to Curb Christmas Crime
CCTV still of the iron horse barrier.
A crackdown on crime across the Wigan borough at weekends during the Christmas period is now underway.
Operation Reindeer will see police officers focusing on shopping centres during the day to reduce purse theft and shoplifting, and at night they will use early-intervention tactics to reduce disorder.
Extra high-visibility patrols will be conducted to reassure members of the public and to support banks and post offices, and officers will also maintain a strong presence around car parks to help prevent items being stolen from vehicles.
Additional resources, including officers from Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP’s) Mounted and Tactical Aid Units, will be available on key dates and ready to intervene at the earliest sign of trouble.
Officers will also issue ‘direction to leave’ notices to anyone over 16 whose presence in an area is likely to contribute to alcohol-related disorder. Under this power the person is given a form stating that they must leave the area and warning them not to return for up to 48 hours or face arrest.
Joint visits to licensed premises are already being made with officers from Wigan Council to combat underage sales of alcohol, and posters will be on display in town centre venues to encourage responsible drinking and serving of alcohol as part of GMP’s Think Safe Drink Safe* campaign.
Wigan town centre’s extensive CCTV network will be used to help police manage any problems that develop, and an eight-foot-high barrier known as the iron horse* has been erected along the top of King Street. The barrier is intended to control access to the area, and has knife arches positioned at each side to deter people from carrying weapons.
People who have previously committed violent offences have received warning letters urging them to behave, and police will work closely with door-staff across the borough to create a safe environment for revellers.
Chief Inspector Jacqueline Pendlebury of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan Division said: “Town centres are very popular destinations for many people, particularly due to their concentration of licensed premises, and we have been preparing thoroughly for the festive period. The success of operations like this often comes down to early police intervention, and our officers will act quickly and robustly to deal with any incidents that threaten public safety.”