WIGAN is the safest place to live in Greater Manchester - and that’s official.
Of course the crimes reported by police and cases going through local courts show that not every resident is as pure as the driven snow.
But latest police statistics show that there are few offences committed in the borough than any other part of Greater Manchester.
Wigan’s commander, Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan, said: “Crime on our streets has been consistently falling with overall reductions in burglary, vehicle crime and violent crime.
“Since 2001/02, total reported crime across the borough has reduced by 45 per cent from 34,761 reported crimes to 19,122 in 2010/11.”
While serious violent crimes are bound to make headlines, local town centres in particular have seen a huge reduction of 42 per cent over the past three years in this type of crime.
Coun Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s cabinet champion for safer communities, said: “In Wigan town centre we have a thriving night time economy.
“Inevitably, any town centre which attracts up to 20,000 revellers on a typical weekend night will encounter some alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder. But serious incidents of this nature are rare, in no small part due to the way agencies work together.”
So what makes Wigan town centre safer?
Operation Dominator is rolled out on bank holidays in anticipation of a rise in alcohol-fuelled disorder. Visitors to King Street are left in no doubt that policing has been stepped up, with officers using knife arches and wands in a bid to keep the area safe. High visibility patrols are also stepped up to ensure trouble isn’t simply displaced to other parts of the town centre.
Wigan’s award-winning CCTV operation has contributed to the overall reduction in crime across our borough, and plays an important role in crime prevention and detection as well as in boosting public reassurance.
Practical measures in partnership with pubs and nightclubs, such as the use of polycarbonate glasses and the successful PubWatch scheme. Police also regularly visit licensed premises offering advice on regulations around drinks promotions and under-age sales, and to ensure doorstaff and managers are checking for customer identification.
Powers such as the Section 30 Dispersal Zones and the boroughwide Designated Public Place Order have proved effective in combating alcohol-fuelled disorder and anti-social behaviour. Section 30s give police officers and PCSOs greater powers when dealing with groups congregating in public places and causing a nuisance whilst the DPPO makes it a criminal offence to consume within a designated area.
Agencies also regularly take part in high profile awareness-raising campaigns. Operation Lockdown highlighted the consequences of alcohol-related violent crime among young adults and attracted the support of Latics manager Roberto Martinez.
Chief Supt Donnellan said: “We believe that prevention is better than cure. That’s why we work proactively with a range of partners and employ a wide variety of joint measures to nip problems in the bud and stop trouble from escalating.”