A major policing operation to keep Northamptonshire’s residents, shoppers and businesses safe in the run up to Christmas is underway, with focused activity designed to fight crime and protect people over the Christmas break.
Operation Lapland is the high visibility policing arm of the operation, with dedicated police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables on foot patrol in the county’s town centres.
Chief Inspector James Willis, who is one of the officers leading the operation, said: “The public and business community can be reassured by a larger, visible presence at this busy time of year to deter shop lifting, opportunistic crimes like purse and bag thefts, and a risk of higher anti-social behaviour in the towns.
“As well as having extra officers out providing a highly-visible policing presence, our PCSO teams are also a vital part of our work to reassure local businesses and shoppers, helping to keep our town centres as safe as possible.
“In addition a well-rehearsed plan is in place to police the night time economy, bolstered with plain-clothes officers who are specifically tasked to target offenders who may present a threat to vulnerable people. We’ll also be taking action to disrupt known offenders believed to be actively offending against businesses or threatening public safety in our county.
“Police will also be supporting partners to tackle domestic violence, which often sees an increase over the festive period. Finally, the Christmas Drink Drive campaign continues at pace.
“We want people to feel safe, have fun and keep our towns a pleasant place to visit, shop and work during the busy festive period and deter opportunistic thieves from committing crime. I hope that everyone has a great Christmas, but be aware – anybody planning on breaking the law can expect to be arrested and have their Christmas ruined."
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime when you are out and about during the Christmas period:
• When out shopping, keep your purse and handbag with you; don't leave it in your trolley or unattended • Keep any cash you may have on you to a minimum • Mobile phones and wallets in back pockets are a target - keep secure and out of sight • Be careful at cash machines and when paying by card - shield your PIN at all times.
With more shoppers about, there are inevitably more vehicles in car parks, offering more opportunities for criminals. Don't let your vehicle be an easy target:
• Don't leave Christmas presents or valuables like laptops, mobile phones, handbags, credit cards or cheque books in your car. • If unavoidable - put them in the boot and ensure equipment is completely switched off • Make sure car doors, windows and sun roofs are all properly closed and locked • Leave absolutely nothing on show - you may know that there is no wallet in your jacket, but a thief will break a window just to check. • If you own a van, remove tools overnight and display an appropriate sign in the rear window making this clear.
If you are a victim of crime or want to report suspicious behaviour to police please call 999 or the non-emergency number on 101. Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.