ESSEX Police will have a strong presence at intu Lakeside shopping centre over the festive period to help ensure shoppers have as safe and enjoyable visit.
Operation Christmas Presence was launched today, Friday November 25, and will run until December 31.
Police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables will be joined by Active Citizens and volunteer police cadets to engage with shoppers and discourage anyone who wants to commit crime.
There will be high visibility patrols as well as officers in plain clothes and unmarked cars. Roads policing officers will also be carrying out patrols and stop checks on vehicles using the surrounding roads.
Officers will be working closely with intu Lakeside’s security staff and CCTV operators, as well as officers from British Transport Police.
Inspector Lee Argent, who is leading the operation, said: “About 2.5million shoppers are expected to visit intu Lakeside over Christmas and New Year.
“By working in partnership with the centre, we have been extremely successfully in building strong relationships with shop and security staff which in turn enables us to deal quickly with those intent on committing crime.
“Christmas is a time for peace and goodwill but not among thieves.
“We advise shoppers to take a few simple security precautions to help keep them at bay, such as avoiding leaving bags in their cars and making sure any valuables are out of sight or locked in the boot.
“If you see a crime in progress or notice any suspicious activity, let us know immediately so we can give them a taste of Christmas in custody.”