A joint initiative aimed at making the borough safe over the festive period has been launched.
Students from The University of Bolton helped police to launch Operation Sherry in Bolton, by handing out non-alcoholic mulled wine to shoppers, to promote responsible drinking over the festive period.
The December crime crackdown, named Operation Sherry, sees the police, Bolton Council and other agencies working together to ensure that people living and working in the town centre can go about their business trouble-free over the festive period.
During the daytime, activities to target vehicle crime, pickpocketing and shoplifting will be in place, while the second phase of the operation will focus on Bolton’s vibrant night-time economy.
As part of new tactics this year, officers working on Operation Sherry will be trialing the use of headcams during some of the day and night time operations, to deter troublemakers and capture evidence against those who insist on committing crime.
A drugs dog was also successfully used recently in the bars around the town centre to deter drugs being brought into the town, and this will be repeated randomly throughout December.
Last year, Operation Sherry helped to reduce crime overall in Bolton town centre throughout December by more than 35 per cent. Vehicle crime decreased by almost 75 per cent compared to the previous December, pickpocketing was down by a quarter and shoplifting offences were almost halved. Public order offences, often caused by drinking alcohol, were also reduced by almost 15 per cent.
The Think Safe Drink Safe campaign (launched last year) is being supported by licensees in Bolton’s Pub Watch scheme, who will be displaying Think Safe Drink Safe posters and till-wobblers in their premises, while others will have staff wearing Think Safe t-shirts.
Bottles of water will be handed out to revellers by Special Constables and Street Angels as they move between bars and clubs on weekends, and bluetooth messages encouraging people to pace their drinks will also be sent out.
Sergeant Paul Ellis who leads the Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Once again this year, there is lots of activity going on throughout December, to ensure that whether people are out shopping, working or socialising in Bolton town centre, they can do so safely.
“We will be doing a lot of work to target any offenders operating in the town centre and will continue to work closely with our pubs and clubs to clamp down on alcohol-related disorder. Anyone who thinks they can come to Bolton and cause trouble need not bother, as we will be watching out for you. We are hoping that the use of headcams this year will also act as a further deterrent.
“We’ve seen good reductions in levels of violent crime across Bolton over the past few years and this latest work is part of our ongoing commitment to keeping it that way.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail said: “Residents and visitors to Bolton should be able to shop and socialise in the town safely and confidently, without the fear of anti-social behaviour. Clearly, people like to enjoy themselves at this time of year but there is always a minority who are intent on causing trouble.
“The work done by those involved in Operation Sherry is crucial in ensuring the festive period runs smoothly and I hope the headcams will act as a deterrent to the trouble-makers and will reassure everyone that people are working hard to make this a safe and jolly time.”
To report crime, please call police on 0161 872 5050 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.