|Operation Reindeer to Curb Christmas Crime
Iron Horse, view from Wallgate.
Police have launched Operation Reindeer across Wigan borough to crackdown on crime during the Christmas period.
Officers are patrolling town centres during the day and maintaining radio contact with retailers and CCTV operators to help prevent shoplifting and pickpocketing.
Purse bells are being handed out to shoppers to keep thieves at bay, and police are also maintaining a strong presence around car parks to help prevent items being stolen from vehicles.
To combat underage sales of alcohol, officers are visiting licensed premises with council officials, and venues are being encouraged to serve drink responsibly as part of GMP’s Think Safe Drink Safe campaign.
At night, early-intervention tactics are being used to prevent any trouble from escalating, and ‘direction to leave’ notices are being issued to those whose presence in an area is likely to contribute to disorder.
The extensive CCTV networks in Wigan and Leigh town centres are being used to help police manage any incidents, and an eight-foot-high barrier known as the ‘iron horse’ will be erected along the top of King Street in Wigan. The barrier is intended to control access to the area, and will have knife arches positioned at each end to stop people from carrying weapons.
In addition, police are working closely with door-staff across the borough to create a safe environment, and are using drugs torches to identify those who have taken illegal substances. These people will then be barred from entering licensed premises.
Inspector Glenn Jones, whose officers cover Wigan town centre, said: “Town centres are popular at this time of year due to the concentration of shops, bars and clubs, 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.”