|Operation Reindeer to Curb Christmas Crime
CCTV still of the iron horse barrier.
A crackdown on crime and disorderly behaviour across 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, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, and at night they will use early-intervention tactics to reduce disorder.
Frequent high-visibility patrols will be used to reassure members of the public,
Additional resources, including officers from GMP’s Mounted and Tactical Aid Units, will be posted in hotspots across the borough on key dates to discourage disorder, and will be 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 drugs dogs from Merseyside Police are being used to target those committing drugs offences.
Wigan town centre’s extensive CCTV network will be used to help police manage any outbreaks of disorder, 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 of it to deter people from carrying weapons.
In addition, police will work closely with door-staff across the borough to help create a safe environment for revellers enjoying a night out.
Sergeant Glynn Worley of the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The town centre is a very popular destination for many people, particularly due to its unique concentration of licensed premises, and we have spent months with our partners preparing 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.”