POLICE patrols have stepped up across the district in a determined effort to tackle thieves, shoplifters and any other criminals seeking to take advantage of the festive season.
It is all part of the force’s annual Operation Tinsel. The initiative will see officers and PCSOs from the neighbourhood policing team conducting high-visibility patrols throughout the festive period to identify and target offenders.
The teams will be working closely with traders and shops across the area in an effort to give reassurance to the public and reduce fears over crimes.
Sergeant Chris Thomas said: “If anyone is thinking about visiting our local towns to commit crime then think again. We’re sending out a strong message to thieves that shoplifting and other crimes, such as bag and purse thefts, will not be tolerated. Offenders can expect to be caught and dealt with robustly.”
On Thursday (December 18), the scheme was launched in Littlehampton with at least half-a-dozen officers providing security in the town’s High Street.
PC Mark Linberry, who has been with the force for 14 years, was one of those patrolling in the town, alongside River Ward PCSO, Kelly Mankelow.
He said shoplifting can prove a particular blight for traders.
“There’s more alcohol around in the festive period, a lot of office parties and there are people who can’t afford the gifts that they want and will turn to shoplifting.
“This operation is just to try and create a happy medium and a more pleasant place,” he said.
Other initiatives launched by the force includes Operation Ribbon, which aims to clampdown on domestic abuse over the festive period.
There will also be a wide-spread roll-out of new mobile technology next month which police hope will cut the time it takes to deal with offenders, giving them more chance to patrol the streets.
For the full story, see today’s Littlehampton Gazette (December 24).