IF you’ve been out and about in Lakeside doing your Christmas shopping, you may have noticed our uniformed officers on foot patrol.
Police have joined forces with the popular Thurrock destination for a special operation in the busy run up to Christmas to ensure visitors have an enjoyable, crime-free shopping experience.
The operation, which involves officers conducting high-visibility patrols as well as plain clothes patrols, is intended to detect and disrupt criminal activity.
In support of the operation, we have deployed a wide range of tactics and specially trained officers skilled at spotting suspicious behaviour; this includes officers with specially trained sniffer dogs.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is being used to stop travelling criminals coming into the centre and committing offences. In addition, officers in unmarked cars have been patrolling the centre’s fifteen outdoor car parks and surrounding roads.
Officers have also been on hand to offer help and advice to shoppers to ensure they keep their belongings safe as well as assisting with other enquiries such as helping to find missing children.
Chief Inspector Jon Hayter said: "In the lead up to Christmas, Lakeside becomes a very busy place with thousands of people passing through the shopping centre every day.
"This operation is a great example of collaborative working which is having a real impact and improving safety in Lakeside, both for shoppers and retailers. As a result of the deployment of our tactics and specially trained officers we have seen a noticeable reduction in crime and improvements in detection rates.
"We are working hard to ensure Lakeside remains a safe and enjoyable shopping destination, whilst at the same time sending a clear message to offenders that we will not be winding down for Christmas and letting them go on their merry way.”