Dec 19 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
AS CHRISTMAS looms and a New Year is fast approaching, Geographic Inspector for West Lancashire, Christina Shorrock spoke to The Advertiser about police activity this year.
Inspector Shorrock said: “This year the police has worked with West Lancashire Borough Council and other agencies involved in the West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership and have taken a robust, zero tolerance approach to disrupt, tackle and prevent those individuals involved, from operating in Skelmersdale.
“Under the heading Operation Fairmont, we targeted organised crime groups in the area, arresting those who were profiting from their criminality. Throughout the year we have conducted in excess of 100 warrants, and in excess of 80 persons have been arrested. A number of these individuals are either currently on remand or have already received custodial sentences. Some have since been evicted by West Lancs Borough Council.
“We have been instrumental in the dissolution of some organised crime groups and others have left the area. Many thousands of pounds worth of drugs (which would have been distributed within our communities) and criminal assets have been seized.
“Throughout the operation, we conducted several meetings with local councillors and key individuals within the community, to tell them about our activity.
“We received overwhelming support from local residents who provided information and intelligence about issues affecting their community, to assist our investigations.
“We will continue to disrupt organised criminality and drug dealing in our areas. We will ensure that our communities are not left intimidated or vulnerable by a small minority of criminals’ intent on causing problems.
“On October 28, Police and West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership (CSP), organised and hosted a Community Information Day on the Concourse. The free event saw the Lancashire Constabulary, West Lancashire Borough Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and a range of other groups, all joined together to give the public an opportunity to find out more about the services they provide.
“On the run up to Mischief Night, Halloween and Bonfire Night, we worked with CSP partners on the Operation Bright Sparx initiative.
“This years Bright Sparx action plan was the most ambitious and comprehensive plan the CSP have agreed to date and was very much focused on working in partnership to deliver against shared priorities, including reducing crime; preventing people from becoming the victims of crime, educating young people on the dangers of fireworks and providing a range of positive activities for young people.
“A Go4IT event at Skelmersdale Fire Station, conducted over three nights, aimed at engaging with young people, was attended by 500 youngsters.
“Despite a significant resource intensive operation, a number of individuals decided to take Mischief Night too far and members of the public, and police officers out on patrol were targeted by young people throwing fireworks and bricks on the Digmoor estate. “As a result extra resources were deployed to the area and an investigation was launched. Approximately 13 people were arrested in connection with these incidents, evidence that we will not tolerate such behaviour. Incidents on following nights were much reduced as a result.
“During October we recorded a 7.6% reduction in ASB compared to the same period in October 2012. Significant reductions were also recorded against firework related ASB with a reduction of over 52% compared with the same period inŠ2012.
Despite these significant events, we have continued as usual with daily business, responses to crime and issues affecting our communities. We will continue our work.”