TACKLING thieves in the town centre through the festive period has led to a 10 per cent reduction in crime as Operation Dasher concluded on New Year’s Eve.

Since launching on December 13, the operation saw reported crime fall as officers patrolled the town centre seeking to pick up on bail breaches, purse dippers and shoplifters.

Most of the arrests were in relation to thefts while crowds came out in force Christmas shopping.

On December 19, one was man arrested for two offences of theft.

Another man attempted to escape on a bike after being detained for a drug search on December 23, along with one man arrested for breach of bail on Christmas Eve and another man arrested on suspicion of a second offence of theft during the month.

On December 30, another man was arrested for breach of bail who had been banned from shops throughout the borough, and two incidents of thieves going into public purses were reported on December 29.

Figures released by the Operation Dasher policing team showed that following on from last year’s success crime committed continues to drop, reducing by a further nine per cent in comparison to last year. The operation in 2013 saw a 15 per cent reduction in crime over the period.

The operation also formed one part of the Swindon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Christmas Safety Campaign which launched on the December 6.

Throughout the Christmas period the Swindon Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team deployed a number of strategies including issuing crime prevention advice, increasing visibility and undercover patrols.

Officers worked in partnership with the CSP, in Swindon, the town’s retailers, store security staff and licensed premises.

PC Paul Bezzant, town centre community beat manager, said: “Swindon town centre continues to be a safe place to shop and the reduction in crimes reported from 66 to 60 this year, proves that Operation Dasher does work,” he said.

“This is a nine per cent reduction in comparison to last year so we are delighted to see that crime continues to go down.

“In 2013 and 2014 we have seen no theft from motor vehicles during this period and a reduction in shop lifting offences by 15 per cent. We will not be complacent as anti-social behaviour increased this year by 13 per cent so we can see there is still work to do.”

Town centre Insp Paul Saunders said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour during the day time economy continue to remain relatively low. This is thanks to the shared responsibility and collective commitment of inSwindon, the retailers, town centre management, store security and the police.

“We continue to build upon these working relationships during the busy festive period, when an increase in opportunistic crime can occur.”