POLICE in Coleraine are cracking down on crime in the run up to Christmas.
Drug use, anti-social behaviour, retail crime and driving offences are among the issues under the spotlight.
As part of the Northern Ireland wide ‘Operation Season’s Greetings’, local officers will increase efforts to deter and detect criminals exploiting the busy festive season for their own ends – with a special focus being placed on preventing and reducing thefts, robberies and burglaries and actively targeting prolific criminals, keeping party-goers safe and preventing road traffic collisions.
Area Commander for Coleraine in H District, Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, explained: “Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone, including the criminal, so don’t let them cash in on your Christmas.
As part of the seasonal operation, there will be increased patrols in key hot spot areas throughout Northern Ireland in an effort to prevent crime and reassure both shoppers and business owners that we are doing our bit to protect them.
In particular, officers will be focusing on key shopping areas, night-life spots and major car parks as part of our increased visibility.
In Coleraine, local officers will be using specially trained drugs detection dogs in the run up to Christmas in order to deter and detect antisocial behaviour and target drug use in the area.
Sergeant Armour, of Coleraine Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “These proactive initiatives demonstrate the commitment of Coleraine Police to provide a personal, professional and protective service to all persons living, working and visiting the Coleraine area”
Enforcement Officers from Coleraine Borough Council are also aiming to reduce anti social behaviour in Coleraine Town Centre in the run up to Christmas. Gary Leighton, one of Council’s Enforcement officers, explained: “Enforcement Officers aim to identify any anti social behaviour in Coleraine; this includes littering offences and illegal street trading. When detected the officers will issue on the spot fines to those committing offences or they may be prosecuted through the court system.
“The council also prosecutes anyone who commits offences under its by-laws and they are fined accordingly. It is important that those living in and visiting the Coleraine area feel safe; it creates an all round better feel for the area in which we live.”
In a bid to boost pedestrian safety, police officers and NSL traffic attendants will be patrolling the pedestrian zones of Coleraine town in relation to driving offences.
Anyone found to be breaching traffic regulations, driving unlawfully, cycling or skateboarding through the pedestrian zones, or parking in the town centre or pedestrian zones without the appropriate authority, appropriate permit or outside the designated parking times, will be dealt with accordingly.
Shopping areas will also be on the radar and as part of Operation Season’s Greetings extra police resources will cover both daytime and late night shopping hours in order to provide a safer shopping and working environment for staff and shoppers.
The Triangle Radiolink Scheme, which is a comprehensive retail radio crime prevention scheme that links participating members in Coleraine town centre to each other via the town centre CCTV system and directly to local PSNI officers, aims to help in this effort.
Julienne Elliott, Safer Coleraine Ltd said: “The radio system allows the rapid transfer of information on suspicious or criminal activity, including thefts and antisocial behaviour or major incidents direct to CCTV operators and local town beat officers which can then be tracked. It also provides up to the minute information to members on current criminal activity such as passing of forged currency and public order disturbances.”