POLICE threw a party for locals as a way of keeping them in touch with crime-cracking activities.
The local Neighbourhood Policing Team staged its first gala event for communities across Lowton, Golborne and Leigh.
Its aim was to inform the public about the work police have been doing with partner agencies to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and the successes that have been achieved.
Those attending were told about how dispersal orders enforced across the borough in recent months have helped to reduce anti-social behaviour, and how Operation Goshawk has been successful in targeting the most active criminals in Leigh, Lowton and Golborne.
This operation has been instrumental in reducing vehicle crime, burglary and drug-related offences, and has resulted in more than 80 arrests since it was launched in October 2011.
Goshawk has also led to a massive increase in intelligence provided by communities, which has helped police to build a more detailed picture of offending habits and to target criminals more pro-actively.
Entertainment during the course of the evening was provided by the Westleigh High School Soul Band.
Supt Andrea Jones of Wigan Police said: “We received some very positive feedback after this event, with many people saying how informative they found the presentations on the work being done by partner agencies.
“Guests were greeted on the night by community cadets and police community support officers who patrol their neighbourhoods. Both groups gave good accounts of themselves by handing out information leaflets, mingling with guests and guiding people to their seats and the refreshments on offer.
“The band was excellent too, and I’m confident that we will run more of these events in future, as they are a great way for agencies to inform the public about all the work that’s being done to build safer and healthier communities.”
Graham Doubleday, who is team leader for Wigan Council’s Restorative Solutions Team, said: “This was an ideal opportunity to showcase some of our pioneering work with young offenders. Since 2005/06 we’ve seen a 78 per cent reduction in the number of first time entrants, and we’ve achieved a 33 per cent reduction this year alone compared to last year’s fantastic reductions.
“We have achieved these reductions year on year through the effective targeting and deployment of early intervention and prevention initiatives across the borough.
“One of the most effective measures has been the use of Restorative Justice, which encourages the young person to take responsibility for their offending behaviour.
“Not only does this have the advantage of reassuring victims, and the local community, that youth crime is being taken seriously and that young people are showing remorse for their actions, it also gives young people a chance to learn new skills and develop self esteem, and allows them to reintegrate back into the community.”