Operation Dasher launches in Swindon

4 December 2019

You better watch out, you better not...commit crime.

Operation Dasher is back this week and will see police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables conducting high visibility patrols across the town centre and Old Town, as well as the many out of town shopping areas over the festive period in a bid to keep the town safe.

It gets underway today (Wednesday 4 December) and runs until Christmas Eve.

Op Dasher runs every year and is supported by inSwindon BID's Street Team, Swindon Borough Council CCTV operators and store security staff.

PC Paul Bezzant said: "We've been running Op Dasher at Christmas for several years now and we have seen a noticeable reduction in crime as a result and I am hoping this continues once again.

"As well as deploying teams of officers to the town centre and Old Town, we'll also be carrying out patrols in areas such as Greenbridge, Mannington Retail Park and the Orbital. We know these areas will be particularly busy in the run up to the big day and as well as providing a reassuring presence, we also hope we will act as a deterrent to anyone considering committing crime such as anti-social behaviour and theft in these areas."

Officers will meet with the inSwindon BID team daily to share intelligence and any other relevant information which will be disseminated to local businesses and shops.

"During Op Dasher we'll be working closely with our partners," said PC Bezzant. "The more eyes and ears we have looking out for, and reporting crime, the better. We'd also urge the public to be vigilant and to report any concerns to us on 101 or 999 in an emergency."

Di Powell, inSwindon BID Ltd CEO said: "Christmas is such an important time for Swindon town centre retailers and shoppers and we fully support Operation Dasher. Our Street Team Ambassadors will meet daily and work in partnership with Wiltshire Police and the town centre retailers to minimise crime over the festive period.

"Visitors should always feel safe and enjoy their Christmas shopping experience in Swindon town centre and an enhanced police presence will boost shoppers' feelings of security. Furthermore, it supports our local businesses, enabling them to concentrate on customer service and enjoying a merry and prosperous Christmas period for themselves, their families and their community."

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime when you are out and about during the Christmas period:
When out shopping, keep your purse and handbag with you; don't leave it in your trolley or unattended
Keep any cash you may have on you to a minimum
Mobile phones and wallets in back pockets are a target - keep secure and out of sight
Be careful at cash machines and when paying by card - shield your PIN at all times.

With more shoppers about, there are inevitably more vehicles in car parks, offering more opportunities for criminals.

Don't let your vehicle be an easy target:
• Don't leave Christmas presents or valuables like laptops, mobile phones, handbags, credit cards or cheque books in your car. If unavoidable - put them in the boot and ensure equipment is completely switched off
• Remove Satnavs, clean away suction marks on windows and make sure car doors, windows and sun roofs are all properly closed and locked
• Leave absolutely nothing on show - you may know that there is no wallet in your jacket, but a thief will break a window just to check.
• If you own a van, remove tools overnight and display an appropriate sign in the rear window making this clear.

If you are a victim of crime or want to report suspicious behaviour to police please call 999 or the non-emergency number on 101. Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.