Humberside Police, Hull City Council and Hull’s Business Improvement District (Hull BID) along with retailers, are hailing the six week operation to tackling shop theft and anti social behaviour in Hull city centre a success.
Operation Yuletide ran from Sunday 21 November until Sunday 02 January 2011.
The aim of the operation was to ensure shoppers and retailers stayed safe through the festive period with over 4,000 extra hours of high visibility patrols in Hull city centre, which was supplemented by additional plain clothes officers.
The operation involved staff from Riverside Neighbourhood Policing Team, the Community Reassurance Team, Professional Development Unit and Special Police Constables.
In total during the initiative police attended 110 incidents, arrested 79 people and issued 28 penalty notices for disorder.
Around 50 stop searches were conducted resulting in further intelligence relating to those responsible for offences.
In addition, officers in plain clothes intervened in over 50 attempt shop thefts, identifying themselves to offenders and preventing the offence from happening.
Inspector Lee Edwards from Riverside Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This operation's aim was catch those responsible for offences while at the same time supporting local business to prevent retail crime and street offences occurring and I am delighted with the impact it has had.
“Retailers were busy in the run up to Christmas and during the post Christmas sales period. By conducting this operation we have assisted in both preventing crime and arresting individuals who were looking to capitalise on the fact that the shops were so busy.
"By maximising the amount of time spent on patrol we contributed to the creation of a shopping environment which was safe and welcoming for all residents, workers and visitors.
“The working relationship with Hull BID and retailers is key to tackling shop theft in the city centre. Our partnership with them will continue into this year to make Hull a fantastic place for everyone to shop and work.”
The increased patrols for Operation Yuletide were partly funded by Hull BID who also provided stores and police with radios to aid the reporting and sharing of information about shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
Kathryn Shillito, City Centre Manager, Hull BID said: “We are delighted the operation was such a success and the statistics demonstrate this. Hull BID consider safety and security in the city a top priority and Operation Yuletide supported the retail sector at such a crucial time in their trading calendar. Phil Overfield, Senior Support Officer at Hull BID was instrumental in this, working closely with partners Hull City Council, the Riverside Neighbourhood Policing Team and the businesses to provide a safer shopping environment.”
Retailers from the city centre were visited throughout the operation with advice on how to make their premises more secure against thieves as well as being advised about how to report incidents and sightings of known offenders.
Princes Quay, St Stephen’s, the Prospect Centre, Whitefriargate, and Jameson Street were some of the districts covered. Some of the comments from retailers following the operation were:
Gary Bassett, Loss Prevention Manager at Debenhams said: “The increase in police uniforms on the street and their presence in store was a deterrent to shoplifters. The response times were fantastic when they responded to incidents that were being broadcast over the Hull BID radio.”
Paul Arthur, Customer Service Manager at Argos in Market Place said: “We were aware that the operation was in place but we had no need to call upon the service. The Riverside Police team were always around and about and we had a number of visits to the store to ask if we were having problems.”
Wayne Scrowston, Security Team Leader at House of Fraser said: “The added policing certainly had the effect of reducing numbers of offenders attempting to steal from the store. I was aware of an increase in uniforms on the streets but also saw the effect that non-uniformed patrols within the store had in reducing thefts.”
Norman Lill, Security Supervisor at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre said: “We saw an enormous number of extra police officers inside the Shopping Centre over Christmas. They assisted our security team in helping to drive down crime. They also used our CCTV to aid them in their duties when they were operating the Centre.”
Ivan Crosby, Loss Prevention Officer at Boots in the Prospect Centre said: “This was an excellent Operation. We had loads of visits to the store by officers on the operation and from the Riverside Police Team. I hope that this kind of extra policing continues in coming years and expands into the New Year Period. Regular shoplifters were definitely put off and the response times to any incidents were fantastic.”
The operation also utilised the city centre’s network of CCTV cameras which can follow and track known offenders on camera to enable video evidence to be gathered.
Photography courtsey of Hull Daily Mail.