POLICE have launched Operation Dasher in a bid to prevent town centre crime in the festive run-up.

The operation, which began on Saturday, is dedicated to policing the town centre day time economy, including late-night shopping, during the busy Christmas period.

It forms one part of the Swindon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Christmas Safety Campaign, which launched on December 6.

During the Christmas period the Neighbourhood Police Team will deploy a number of strategies that will include issuing crime prevention advice and increased high visibility and covert patrols. These efforts will be completed in partnership with the CSP, inSwindon, the town’s retailers, store security staff and licensed premises.

Insp Paul Saunders, of Central NPT, said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour during the day time economy continue to remain relatively low. This is thanks to the shared responsibility and collective commitment of inSwindon, the retailers, town centre management, store security and the police.

“We continue to build upon these working relationships during the busy festive period, when an increase in opportunistic crime can occur.

“Our aim is to ensure Swindon town centre remains a safe and pleasant place to visit.

“The Day Safe network is an invaluable resource and intelligence and real time information sharing assists us in both the prevention and detection of crime. Notably improvements to the town centre CCTV in recent months will prove helpful during this busy period.”

PC Paul Bezzant, community beat manager, said: “Operation Dasher last year saw a notable reduction in acquisitive crime during the festive period; the town centre saw a reduction of 15 per cent from the previous year.

“The team are certainly not complacent and we are determined to build upon this success working closely with our partners.

“We would also like to remind people about their own personal safety.

“At this time of year our thoughts are often focused on all the festivities.

“Personal safety for some, sadly, is not at the forefront of their thought process.”