Police in Longton are increasing patrols across the town over the festive period to support shoppers, cut crime and tackle any anti-social behaviour.
Operation Snowball will see local neighbourhood officers and police community support officers out and about in the town centre and surrounding retail parks to tackle criminality and provide reassurance.
Police have joined with partners from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, including their Covid-19 stewards, and local businesses to ensure shoppers stay safe while Christmas shopping and visiting the town.
Since the beginning of the month, officers have carried out numerous stop and searches, made three arrests and issued three community resolutions as a result of the proactive patrols.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Karina Bates, from Stoke-on-Trent South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Over the Christmas period, shoplifting and other crime can sometimes rise and we will be increasing our activity to tackle these issues and deter and detect criminal activity, including theft and anti-social behaviour.
“We are also asking the public to take extra care of their property when out shopping and to ensure that any gifts purchased are locked and out of sight within their vehicles.
“Our Christmas initiative should ensure Longton remains a safe and secure environment for residents and visitors to enjoy the build-up to Christmas.”
Council leader Abi Brown and ward councillor Asman Ali joined police, Covid stewards and community support officers from the authority in the town this week to listen to businesses. During September, the council and police carried out a community safety survey in the town with 74 businesses and shops, and have acted on the feedback received.
Councillor Brown said: “Longton is always a bustling, welcoming and great place to visit and shop. Having run a business in the town, Longton remains very close to my heart. We listen to comments from businesses and shoppers very closely because we want to ensure people have the best experience visiting the town.
“That is why we took the time to speak to scores of businesses and have acted on their comments. Together with a number of partners, we brought a range of services into the town for a dedicated week of action, with the police using technology innovatively to carry out an online surgery. There is a regular, supportive police presence in the town and positive comments from visitors. Targeted work also continues to take place to give the right support to vulnerable people, and there is a co-ordinated response between a range of service providers to tackle nuisance behaviour.
“We have already seen incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime fall over the past couple of months, and we continue to listen to businesses, residents and visitors so that people can continue to enjoy visiting the town both before Christmas and afterwards.”