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Police Winter Nights Campaign starts.

An amplified effort to tackle violence and robbery across London in the run up to Christmas has begun today (30 November).

Led by the Violent Crime Taskforce and supported by the rest of the Metropolitan Police Service, ‘Winter Nights’ aims to stamp down on violent crime, take high harm offenders off the streets and offer help and support to those on the cusp of becoming involved in criminality. Winter Nights will see officers going into communities in efforts to build trust and confidence, prevent robbery and violence, arrest criminals and offer diversion opportunities to those who want it over the five-week period.

Teams made up of local officers, Roads and Transport Policing Command, Operation Venice, Violence Suppression Units as well as robbery teams will all take part in the operation to address the Met’s top priority of tackling violence. Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, weapon sweeps and anti-robbery patrols are just some of the tactics officers will use.

Robbery often increases at this time of year with darker evenings, and it remains a significant contributor to knife crime and violence across London. While Covid-19 restrictions may affect how the public go about their Christmas shopping and mark the festive period, we still expect to see increased footfall in town centres, shopping areas and socialising in the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

In response, officers across London will be directing more resources and patrols in robbery hotspot areas and carrying out proactive operations aimed at identifying suspicious behaviour, arresting suspects and preventing robberies from happening in the first place. Safer Schools Officers will also be running hi-visibility patrols in the areas around schools at key times in the day, and engaging with pupils on crime prevention.

Commander Jane Connors, Met Lead for Tackling Violence, said, “Our number one priority is to reduce violence and we work to achieve this every single day. Winter Nights is an extension of our existing efforts to bear down on violent crime over the festive period. “The results from recent operations such as Operation Sceptre and Autumn Nights have had great results and we will build on this on the run up to Christmas as part of the Winter Nights activity.

“It will be a Christmas like no other and we want Londoners to still enjoy themselves and feel safe while preventing them from being victims of robbery and violence. The public can expect to see a policing presence across areas blighted by violence and I hope you will all feel reassured by that.

“This operation is not just about arrests and enforcement, we know that young, vulnerable individuals can be drawn into a lifestyle of criminality and violence. We are doing all we can to prevent those people from going down the wrong path by supporting those that want help and support to turn their life around. Therefore, we are prioritising opportunities for them to embark with various schemes to equip them with skills for life so they may have a more hopeful new year.” The Winter Nights campaign runs from 30 November until 3 January.

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