Police appeal for New Year calm

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POLICE appealed for revellers to enjoy a peaceful New Year as it was revealed Wigan’s main clubbing centre is the most violent street in the borough.

Of almost 500 violent crimes in all of the borough’s town centres this year, which included three rapes and 16 cases of grievous bodily harm, 132 cases of low-level assault and anti-social behaviour took place in King Street in Wigan.

Figures released by Wigan Council reveal that, to date, there have been 496 low-level assaults in the town centre, which is significantly less than the previous year, which saw 964 offences including four rapes and 27 serious assaults.

Wallgate, adjacent to King Street, has the second highest rate of crime, with 63 incidents, followed by King Street, in Leigh, where 31 offences were recorded.

Market Place, in Wigan, has the lowest crime rate, with nine offences counted, followed by Standishgate, Wigan, and King Street West, Wigan, with 11 low level violent crimes in both streets.

In a bid to tackle crime, Wigan Council is working with Greater Manchester Police to launch Operation Dominator, aimed at boosting security arrangements on significant dates in King Street.

Paul Whitemoss, Wigan Council’s business manager (Building Stronger Communities Partnership), said: “The majority of incidents relate to the night-time economy in our town centres, a pattern which is typical of most areas in the country.

“In Wigan town centre, the incidents in King Street and Wallgate account for 40% of all cases.

“King Street in Leigh and Gerard Street in Ashton also experience violence crime, but to a far lesser extent.

“The risk of becoming a victim is small even in these streets, especially given that Wigan town centre’s bars, pubs and clubs attract 15,000 people on both Friday and Saturday nights.

“We are keen to encourage sensible drinking to minimise the risk of people becoming offenders or victims of crime.”

And Inspector Glenn Jones of Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “By working in partnership with the council and other agencies, and through the strategic use of police and other resources we have almost halved the number of incidents relating to serious or violent crime against the person.

“In addition to the efforts we put into making Wigan town centre safer every weekend of the year, we also work with the council on joint initiatives such as Operation Dominator to counter any potential risks associated with certain key dates, such as, most recently, Boxing Day.

“A lockdown is put in place, so that people entering King Street are required to pass through a knife arch.

“This additional monitoring ensures the safety of revellers on King Street and in the peripheral areas.

“Our joint work with licensed premises, the take up of polycarbonate vessels, our track record in excluding persistent offenders from the town centre, and the effective use of CCTV and the Pub Watch scheme all contribute to making Wigan town centre a safer night-time destination for party-goers.”

l Operation Dominator was organised over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

And on that night, the police made three arrests for public order offences, carried out one stop and search and issued nine directions to leave.

Officers visited licensed premises to ensure door staff and managers were checking for customer identification.

Operation Dominator is funded from central government’s Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP), which aims to reduce the carrying of knives, related deaths and serious stabbings among teenagers (13-19 years) in 10 police force areas, including Greater Manchester.