The weeks running up to Christmas are a very busy time for the police and they will be anticipating increases in offences of drink driving, domestic violence, armed robberies, thefts and incidents of disorder, especially when Christmas parties get out of hand.
It is therefore not surprising that Lancashire Police has already publicised various crime prevention operations to deal with this potential spike in criminal activity.
The success of these operations should not be judged by how many people are arrested, because the aim is to prevent offences happening. Unfortunately counting offences that don’t actually happen is in most cases impossible and the public doesn’t always appreciate the hidden success of these operations.
For example, how do you find out how many teams of armed robbers have been put off travelling to Lancashire because of strategically placed high profile road checks and the visible deployment of vehicles fitted with automatic number plate recognition systems (ANPR)?
Criminals are aware that ANPR systems can identify stolen vehicles and provide live criminal intelligence to officers. They are also aware that Lancashire Police is using covert armed response vehicles to follow cash delivery vans, which means that Lancashire is not an easy target for professional travelling criminals. Regrettably though this will still not deter all violent criminals.
This high visibility road policing will also hopefully make some people think twice before drinking and driving.
Again how do you measure how many people decide not to have that extra drink or even decide to leave their car at home?
I also like the tactic this year that the police, the Lancashire partnership against crime and Blackpool transport are working together to provide 1,800 sets of jingle bell key rings to bus passengers. These key rings are attached to bags or purses and make it more difficult for pickpockets to operate. How many thefts will not happen because of this activity?
Similarly because of heeding the seasonal crime prevention advice that is being provided, such as don’t leave valuables in view when you park your car, stay with your car when you defrost it with the engine running and improve the security at your home, many people will prevent offences from happening.
Overall, Lancashire police and their partner agencies are working very hard to ensure that as many people as possible have a happy and safe Christmas. If people take notice of the advice being provided, avoid getting too drunk and rowdy at work do’s and refrain from attacking their partners there will be fewer victims of crime. That will mean the boys and girls in blue can have a very quiet time and surely that is what everybody would wish for at Christmas.