Swindon Police Community Policing Teams (CPTs) have today (Thursday 14 December 2017) launched Operation Dasher in the run up to Christmas 2017.

Operation Dasher is the increased, dedicated focus on policing the town centre and out of town retail parks during the day time economy (DTE) and late night shopping throughout the busy Christmas period.

During this time, the CPTs will deploy a number of patrol strategies that include crime prevention initiatives and increased high visibility as well as covert patrols. These actions will be delivered in partnership with inSwindon and the town’s retailers, store security staff and licensed premises.

Swindon South Community Policing Team’s Sgt David Tippetts said, “While crime and anti-social behaviour during the day time economy remain relatively low, the increase in visitors during the build up to Christmas can present new opportunities for criminals.

“We will not be complacent and are committed to continuely combat these issues. Our partners: the retailers, store security staff, inSwindon and centre management firms have a shared commitment and responsibility to jointly tackle these issues during the busy festive period; a period where an increase in opportunistic crime can occur. Our aim is it ensure Swindon retail areas are safe and pleasant places to visit. The DaySafe network (see below) is a valuable resource to this;  the sharing of intelligence and information helps in both the prevention and detection of crime.”

Community Co-Ordinator for Swindon South, PC Paul Bezzant said, “The increased footfall across the town can see a rise in opportunistic crime. In conjunction with our partners, under Operation Dasher, we will robustly deal with those insistent on committing crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.

“Christmas is a time to relax and have fun but it can also be busy and stressful.  We understand that people can get caught up in the festivities and we would like to remind everyone to consider their own personal safety and that of their loved ones while out and about.”

Below are a few simple tips to help prevent you not becoming a victim of crime whilst out and about during the Christmas period:

• When out shopping, keep your purse and handbag with you, do not leave it in your trolley or unattended
• Keep any cash that you may have on you to a minimum
• Mobile phones and wallets in back pockets are a target – ensure that you keep them secure and out of sight
• Be careful at cash machines and when paying with your card – shield your PIN at all times.

With increased numbers of shoppers on local streets, there are inevitably more vehicles in car parks which provide more opportunities for criminals.  Don’t let your vehicle be an easy target by following the advice outlined below:

• Don’t leave Christmas presents or other valuables like laptops, mobile phones, handbags, credit cards or cheque books in your car.  If it is unavoidable – place them in the boot and ensure equipment is completely switched off
• Remove Satellite Navigation systems and clean away suction marks on windows and make sure car doors, windows and sun roofs are all properly closed and locked
• Remove your stereo if you can – mark it with the vehicle registration number if you can’t
• Leave your glove box open to show that there is nothing in it
• 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, make sure you 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.

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