Operation Season’s Greetings gets under way

POLICE are encouraging people throughout Northern Ireland to make this a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons and have set themselves three key priorities to help keep people safe in their homes, on the roads and when out socialising this festive season.

‘Operation Season’s Greetings’ aims to provide reassurance to the public by way of high visibility police deployments, in key locations and at key times. It will also provide increased levels of crime prevention advice so that people can take steps to protect themselves and their property.

As part of this year’s operation, officers will take extra steps to deter and detect criminals exploiting the busy festive season for their own ends – with a special focus being placed on preventing burglaries, keeping party-goers safe and preventing road traffic collisions.
Police will be deploying high-visibility patrols – in cars, on bikes and on foot – in key hot-spot areas to prevent crime and reassure householders, shoppers, revellers and motorists.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “‘Season’s Greetings’ involves a wide range of operational activity including road safe operations, nightlife operations, domestic abuse awareness and serious harm and organised crime.

“We are working to deliver a personal and protective policing service across Northern Ireland, keeping people safe and helping people feel safe during the festive season. ‘Operation Season’s Greetings’ will run in all eight Districts right across Northern Ireland over the festive period. It is aimed at keeping people safe and helping them feel safe in their homes, communities, on the roads and when out enjoying the Christmas festivities.

“All areas of policing work together to deliver safer communities – the visible policing that people see on a day to day basis through neighbourhood and response officers does not deliver that alone. Detectives working in serious and organised crime, intelligence and counter terrorism also work hard to make their communities safer.

“Despite the severe terrorist threat, police remain fully committed to delivering a safe and secure Christmas for all the people of Northern Ireland. However, we need your help to do this - the public also have a responsibility to keep themselves and each other safe and to work with, and support, their Police Service.

“Police have worked hard to keep communities safe throughout 2012, we will continue this work right throughout the festive season. With your support, we have been working together to keep you safe in your home, on the roads and when you’ve been out socialising. Have a great Christmas and make it one to remember for the right reasons.”

Following the launch of the Christmas Drink Drive Campaign this morning, police will be on the look out for drunk drivers at all times of the day so if you are planning to have a night out, remember that you may still be over the limit and unfit to drive the following morning. 
ACC Kerr added: “Of course, we fully understand that this is a wonderful season to be out socialising and we wouldn’t want to spoil anybody’s fun. That is why we are running operations targeting behaviour such as underage drinking, drink driving and alcohol-related assaults which are the most common reasons why a good night out can end in tragedy. Please play your part, be responsible, and help to make this Christmas safe and enjoyable for everyone.

“We will also be focusing heavily on crime prevention - keeping property safe, preventing burglary, thefts from vehicles and personal safety, and will be launching a Domestic Abuse Campaign, as well as running campaigns on organised crime which will crack down on counterfeit goods, Operation Nightlife – to keep people safe when out socialising - and One Punch – which highlights how violence can lead to tragedy on a night out.

“Frauds and scams can increase in number and frequency during the festive season and we will be issuing crime prevention advice highlighting details of any scams or frauds that could affect the public in Northern Ireland. Additional policing operations, such as those against counterfeit goods distribution, will be highlighted as Christmas is a key time for this type of activity. Businesses also need to be aware of the steps they can take, particularly in relation to increased cash and valuables in the run up to Christmas.

“Finally, I would like to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and crime-free Christmas and New Year.”