ESSEX Police and Lakeside Shopping Centre are once again working together to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience is had by all that visit the centre in the run up to Christmas.
For the fourth successive year, Operation Christmas Presence has been launched and will see extra officers working closely with the LakesideShopping Centre security team to ensure that criminals do not visit the area during the busy shopping period.
The Essex Police mounted unit and the motorcycle unit will join the Lakesidepolicing team on patrols at key times of the day to deter anyone visiting the area intent on committing crime.
Thurrock district commander, Chief Inspector Richard Baxter, said: “Lakeside is, and always has been, a very safe and welcoming environment for people to shop and enjoy everything else it has to offer. Our job is to ensure it stays that way, so we are once again working with their security teams to ensure criminals get the message that they shouldn’t bother coming here, as we will catch them and deal with them robustly.
“With the vast amount of visitors that come here, it is also a prime opportunity for us to educate people on ways to keep themselves and their property safe at this time of year.”
Officers will be handing out personal safety advice, and will be patrolling Lakeside’s 13,000 free parking spaces to ensure people are leaving their vehicles secure. If officers find a vehicle unsecured, they will contact the car owner and advise them on ways they can help prevent their car being targeted by opportunist thieves.
Paul Lancaster, General Manager at LakesideShopping Centre, said: “With longer opening hours than ever before, Lakesideis the perfect place to shop this Christmas as people can visit at a time that’s most convenient for them. Combining the Lakesidepolicing team, our security staff and the additional mounted and motorcycle units from Essex Police ensures this Christmas should be another happy and safe one at Lakeside.”
With one of the country’s busiest road networks near Lakeside, officers will also be utilising Automated Number Plate Recoginition (ANPR) cameras to intercept travelling criminals before they have a chance to stop in the area.
Essex Police officers will also be working closely with the British Transport Police to ensure that criminals do not use the rail networks to come to Thurrock to commit crime, and will be carrying out stop check operations at Chafford Hundred over the coming weeks.