Police operation will help vulnerable people

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GREATER Manchester Police has launched a two-day operation to protect the most vulnerable members of the community.

The initiative – codenamed Operation Longford – will see officers from across the Force and specialist units including traffic, tactical aid and the ANPR intercept teams take to the streets in a bid to target vulnerability in Wigan.

Some of the work as p art of the days of action through yesterday and today will include visits to licensed premises, policing open spaces that attract youths and alcohol, takeaway enforcement, while in Manche visit to shisha bars in addition to Metrolink and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)* patrols.

Superintendent Craig Thompson operational lead said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is an on-going priority for the Force which makes days of action like this so important.

“By having mechanisms in place and working alongside our partners we can ensure those at greater risk in our community are protected before the actions such as exploitation and abuse begin.

“As with our day to day policing we will also carry out enforcement work and will target offenders for a range of offences including, human trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE*), antisocial behaviour and general criminality.”

As part of the operation officers from the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team and partners such as Wigan Council, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner will launch the partnership Safe Haven scheme.

It is a place of safety for anyone who is out and about in the city centre on a Friday or Saturday night and in need of help, support, a place of safety or a designated meeting point for when people lose their friends and become isolated and vulnerable.

Superintendent Thompson added: “We want Operation Longford to show our community that their safety comes first and will always be our priority.

“We will make use of all of our disruption tactics to put a stop to criminals.”

Wigan’s team includes PCSO Caroline Atherton, Sergeant Brian Gaskell, Sergeant Derek Thomas, PC Craig Harrison, PC Daniel Vickers, and complex dependency team members Lindsay Saunders, Gary Pilling and Laura Newton.

For live updates from the operation follow #OpLongford from the GMP twitter accounts.

Residents can also find their local Twitter account by visiting: www.gmp.police.uk/socialmedia.