Christmas crime crackdown

A CHRISTMAS crime crackdown is under way in Northumberland — and everyone is encouraged to play their part.

Operation Soundwave has been launched by Northumbria Police to try to reduce crimes such as burglary and shoplifting.

Uniformed and undercover officers are carrying out extra patrols throughout the county and are keeping check on known criminals to ensure they are not causing misery for law-abiding citizens.

Police are also working alongside local Shopwatch schemes, which allow information about thieves to be shared quickly so that store security staff can be on the look-out for suspicious behaviour and inform officers.

But action is not just taking place in town centres, with police also working with Farmwatch schemes and gamekeepers in rural areas, and targeting diesel theft.

In addition, residents have been urged to play their part in keeping the criminals away by ensuring their homes and property is secure.

And Christmas shoppers have been advised to make sure their cars are not an easy target while they browse for gifts.

They should take any valuable items with them, rather than leaving them in their vehicles, remember to lock their cars and try to park in secure, well-lit, busy areas. They should never leave Christmas presents in the car while they continue shopping.

Northumberland Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Gordon Milward, said: “We’re committed to making a difference to Northumberland residents and are doing all we can to target criminals and keep people safe in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.

“We’re determined to take positive action against those individuals we suspect of committing a range of offences which impact on the public and significant arrests have been made.

“We’re also reiterating to people how important it is to do what they can to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Simple and cost-effective security steps can go a long way to protecting goods, properties and valuables.”

He called on people to register their valuables on the free online database so that they can be returned if stolen and later recovered by police. He also said people should report any suspicious activity immediately.

“Working together, we can all have a happy Christmas and ensure it’s a miserable one for county criminals,” he said.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is fully behind Operation Soundwave.

She said: “Operations like this demonstrate that police are taking a strong stance against criminals who commit this type of crime and I welcome this crackdown in the run-up to Christmas, which also supports a national initiative.

“Promoting crime prevention is also a key objective for me and I’d encourage residents to play their part in crime reduction by taking security measures, while Immobilise is a free and valuable service which I would urge people to sign up to.”

Crime prevention advice is available online at vice_and_information