Police to step up patrols in A&E for festive weekends

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Police will be on hand at Wigan’s A&E throughout the festive season in a bid to crack down on troublemakers.

Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Connect will be returning to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) for the third year and will mean special patrols are in place over the weekends.

Emergency workers themselves can experience higher levels of threatening and violent behaviour including hate crimes and racial abuse

WWL spokesman

The patrols have proved successful in the past, reducing instances of violence and aggression, while providing a safe environment for both patients and staff.

A WWL spokesman said: “WWL and GMP are very proud to be working together again on this ground breaking initiative.

“The period over Christmas and New Year is traditionally a very busy one for all the emergency services. Increased demand on the services is mainly linked to night time festive activity and domestic abuse; much of which can be alcohol and drugs related. Mental Health issues are also a major concern at this time of year.

“These issues have a significant impact on policing and healthcare due to increased levels of violence, substance and alcohol abuse and self-harming.

“In addition to this, emergency workers themselves can experience higher levels of threatening and violent behaviour including hate crimes and racial abuse.

“We expect weekends, plus other critical dates - namely Christmas and New Year’s Eve, to be particularly demanding on the system.

“The aim of Operation Connect is to place police resources into the A&E environment of WWL during those key times, providing visible reassurance and a swift response to any incidents that arise.

“By doing this, we aim to enhance the good working relationships, communication and awareness between police and NHS workers.”

By carrying out this operation, Greater Manchester Police aim to provide safety and support to NHS staff, patients and visitors, provide safety and support to victims of crime, their families and friends and reduce harm.

They also hope to maintain a reassuring presence in the casualty department, preserve best evidence to prosecute violent offenders and ensure that violent incidents are reported to police.

The spokesman said: “It is hoped that doctors, nurses, porters and security staff will once again feel significantly reassured and much less threatened and stressed as a result of the police presence.

“This will enable our staff to concentrate on their roles and not feel threatened by those they are helping.”