Case Studies

Winter Nights operation

by Mark Rowe

Winter Nights, launched today, is a campaign by the Metropolitan Police against robbery and violence, seeking to offer diversion opportunity to those who want it, over the five-weeks to January 3.

Local Met officers, Roads and Transport Policing Command, Operation Venice, Violence Suppression Units and robbery teams will take part in the operation to address what the Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has described as the force’s top priority of tackling violence. Tactics will include Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, weapon sweeps and anti-robbery patrols.

As police say, robbery often increases at this time of year with darker evenings, and it remains a significant contributor to knife crime and violence across London. It follows Operation Sceptre, a week of similar work against knife crime by various police forces; and a similar op against anti-social behaviour before Halloween and Bonfire Night.

While Covid-19 restrictions may affect how the public go about their Christmas shopping, police still expect to see increased footfall in town centres, shopping areas and socialising in the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Hence 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.

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.”

Photo by Mark Rowe; Trafalgar Square.

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