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Posted on: Monday, 17/12/2012
Christmas crackdown on town troublemakers

POLICE have united with retail security teams across town to crack down on thieves and those who cause a nuisance over Christmas.

The festive campaign, named Operation Dasher, sees security staff able to share information and link directly with neighbourhood police to curb shoplifting, pickpocketing and anti-social behaviour.

The crime reduction initiative started in the town centre two years ago and has this year for the first time been launched town-wide for the Christmas period, meaning other shopping areas in the town such as Orbital Shopping Park and West Swindon Centre are covered also.

Police have said they are determined to clamp down on criminal activities in these areas, which see a high footfall over Christmas and leave thieves with opportunities to strike.

Last year the number of shoplifting offences reported in the town centre went up to 55 from 44 the previous year, but now security teams can share information and intelligence to alert officers to known offenders or crimes in progress through the Day Safe network.

Sergeant Barry Reed, of the town centre neighbourhood policing team, said: “Op Dasher has been a high-visibility policing intiative in the town centre for a few years now and has been rolled out across town.

“The first aim is to make sure people who come into the shopping areas and use the day time economy can have a pleasant experience without the fear of crime, and secondly, it is to prevent the known offenders coming into the town centre by robustly policing them.

“We have offender management programmes and we aim to prevent known shoplifters, purse dippers and pickpockets from ruining Christmas for everybody else.

“It’s all about making sure people are safe – Swindon has a low level of crime and we want to remain proactive to keep it that way.”

To download the crime prevention posters visit Swindon Town Centre NPT on Facebook.

Andy Wynn, Brunel Centre Manager said: “We are to be working in partnership with the Police and inSwindon. “The Brunel Centre has a good track- record of being a safe place to shop and our staff are experienced at keeping anti-social behaviour under control. “We’re happy to share our expertise and facilities with others in order to help keep Swindon town centre a safe and pleasant place for people to shop”.


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