AN anti social behaviour operation in Leigh is delivering results by launching a multi-pronged blitz on criminality within the town centre, police say.

Over the years, residents have grown increasingly concerned with anti-social behaviour in the town centre, with drug and alcohol abuse, criminal damage and trespassing reported as common problems.

Looking to take a proactive approach to tackling this, local business owners have teamed up with police officers to deter this type of criminality and improve the town's environment.

Police have also focused on tackling this through projects like Operation Bluefin and neighbourhood policing, with half the number of anti-social behaviour crimes recorded in the town centre compared with last year.

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Leigh Journal: Pop up events have taken place to listen to concernsPop up events have taken place to listen to concerns (Image: GMP)
Continuing this approach in the town centre, five of the six identified most problematic shoplifters in the town centre have been arrested, which has resulted in charges, prison sentences and criminal behaviour orders.

In addition to this, there have been multiple seizures of drugs, alcohol, and stop-searches of those suspected of being involved in crime.

Some of the work has come alongside the council’s anti-social behaviour team, who officers work closely with to allocate resources and distribute their services, and distribute tolls and equipment so that the public can tackle crime.

A refreshed public spaces protection order has also provided further help to local officers, which gives them with enhanced powers to tackle and prevent a range of criminality, including shoplifting, public intoxication, harassment, and other inappropriate behaviour in public.

Officers have further increased engagement with the community in recent months, through a mix of drop-ins, pop-ups in the town centre, and regularly talking to shop owners about what they want the most for the community.

As we head into the new year, police say that they will be increasing patrols in the town centre, as well as council teams. This will include further pop-up hubs and increased days of action within the town centre.

Leigh Journal: Police have stepped up anti-social behaviour operationsPolice have stepped up anti-social behaviour operations (Image: GMP)
Inspector Sam Davies, from GMP’s Wigan district, said: “I am really pleased to be able to highlight the positive work being done in the area by the local policing team in conjunction with the wider community safety partnership.

“In a little over two weeks, we have seen five individuals imprisoned, countless contact cards issued relating to anti-social behaviour, and many valuable interactions with members of the public and our local businesses.

“I believe this sends out a clear message to those that wish to cause disruption within our community and seek to damage the quality of life for law abiding people going about their daily business. This will not be tolerated here in Leigh and we will always seek positive action through the criminal justice system whenever possible.”