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Dashing in to thwart crime
OPPORTUNITIES for crime in Swindon’s town centre are likely to increase over the Christmas period, but police and retailers are attempting to tackle the surge with the return of a familiar operation.
Operation Dasher, which has been used in the central shopping district for several years according to inSwindon, will be dedicated to policing the town centre during the day, including late night shopping.
Wiltshire Police’s Swindon Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) will deploy a number of crime prevention strategies, including higher visibility and covert patrols.
Swindon Community Safety Partnership’s Christmas safety campaign was launched at the end of last month and this operation forms part of the police’s commitment to that agency.
Central NPT’s Inspector Adrian Burt said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour during the daytime remain relatively low.
“Our partners in the town; the retailers, store security staff, inSwindon and centre managements firms have a shared commitment and responsibility to maintain this during the busy festive period when an increase in opportunistic crime can occur.
“Our aim is to ensure Swindon town centre is a safe and pleasant place to visit.
“The Day Safe network is a valuable resource to this and information sharing assists in both the prevention and detection of crime.”
Town centre community beat manager, PC Paul Bezzant, said: “The increased footfall in the town can see an increase in opportunistic crime.
“In conjunction with our partners, under Operation Dasher, we will robustly police those insistent on committing crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.
“We effectively use our offender management strategies to deal with those persistent offenders and there is a great team ethos amongst are partners in the town.
“The Day Safe network, with our shared commitment, gives the town an invaluable resource.
“There is a real team effort with more pairs of eyes looking out to curb crime and anti-social behaviour.”
A spokesperson from inSwindon, the group charged with managing the town centre, said: “We work closely with the police throughout the year with a focus on making the town centre safe for shoppers in the Christmas period.
“We are trying to make shoppers aware of their responsibility with reference to car parks and shopping.
“The volume of shoppers in the town centre and the footfall goes sky high. People are taking advantage of the offers in the town centre.
“The nature of the increased volume means there are more opportunities for crime to take place. We are just making sure people are aware and taking responsibility, making sure their cars are not at risk of being broken into.”
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