We've all been there – overloaded with shopping, struggling through the crowds, children screaming in their buggies, slow people getting in the way as you try to stride around the shops, bag hanging open as you can't reach far enough to zip it back up...
Welcome to the wonders of Christmas shopping. Unlike many of us who love the idea of buying gifts for our loved ones but abhor the reality of battling against a surge of other desperate shoppers, thieves love this time of year. For there are countless opportunities for them to make off with our bags, wallets and gifts whilst our guard is down.
However, Operation Advent intends to counteract this increase in crime over the festive period; from Saturday 1st December until the early hours of Christmas morning, the police will be launching a 24-day crackdown on those intent on breaking the law.
Operation Advent has been in the planning for the past three months, and will include officers from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team, PCSOs, Special Constables and UK Border Agency immigration officials.
Sgt David Cooke is the operation's organiser: “We will be out in the 24 days leading up to Christmas running a different operation every day, ranging from handing out crime prevention advice to carrying out high visibility shoplifting patrols.
“This is the first time it has been done in Bishop’s Stortford and the aim is to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Christmas.”
Patrols in the town centre will be focused on catching shoplifters and thieves. Burglary hotspots will be also be targeted, which include the elderly, who can often be vulnerable to criminals at this time of year.
Crime prevention days will also be taking place, and the police will work with local pubs, bars and clubs to provide safety advice to Christmas revellers. Public order patrols will also be on hand at peak times to combat any troublemakers, and drink drivers will be targeted through the Pubwatch scheme.
Sgt Cooke added: “Despite being a low crime area, we are still being proactive in targeting those who are intent on ruining Christmas for other people. We will be dealing robustly with anyone found to be committing an offence.”
Member since: 10th July 2012
I've been running The Best of Bishop's Stortford since 2010 and I'm passionate about supporting all things local. In particular, we work hard to showcase the best local businesses who give the area it's...