EXTRA police patrols will be deployed across the Coleraine area as Christmas and the New Year approaches.
Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, Area Commander for Coleraine, said the patrols would aim to deter and detect crime and motoring offences:
“Make no mistake – over the Christmas period police officers will be out in force; we take every offence very seriously and have stepped up our operations to apprehend and prosecute offenders,” he said.
“Our priority is to help keep people safe in their homes, safe when out socialising and safe on the roads this Christmas.
“The patrols are part of ‘Operation Season’s Greetings’, which, as well as concentrating on high visibility patrolling at key times during the day and at night, also includes drink-driving and road safety operations, and anti-burglary operations.
“Local police will also be supporting the ‘Get Home Safe’ campaign and domestic abuse awareness campaigns. These initiatives will take place throughout Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.
“Dedicated town centre foot patrols will be in place in towns and villages and officers will be visiting major retailers to offer crime prevention advice.
“We are also urging people to take personal responsibility for their own actions and behaviour over Christmas and the New Year. Always plan your journey home in advance and please drink responsibly.
“Don’t walk through areas you are unsure of and stay in well-lit areas, stay with your friends and don’t walk alone. Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know and make sure you have enough money to get yourself home.
“And as always, local people can help by looking out for criminal activity and reporting their suspicions to police immediately.
“Finally, I would like to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and crime-free Christmas and New Year.”
Patricia McQuillan, Vice-Chair of Coleraine District Policing Partnership, endorsed the messages of vigilance against theft, taking care when out for the evening and never drinking when driving.
Also as a member of ‘H’ District Rural Policing Forum, Patricia particularly stressed the need for vigilance in rural areas, including the recommendation that the farming community take measures to counter rural theft by considering initiatives such as sheep tagging and to avail of trailer marking schemes that are being undertaken in collaboration with the PSNI.