A LEADING police officer has hailed an operation to prevent shoplifting after revealing a significant drop in retail thefts.
Wrexham town centre Sergeant Gareth Davies revealed that Operation Santa – a bid from the force to reduce shoplifting across the town centre in the run up to Christmas – had resulted in a 21 per cent reduction in retail thefts in December, compared with the same month in 2012.
The Wrexham Town Centre Forum meeting was told yesterday there were 44 shoplifting incidents in Wrexham town centre during December, compared with a 2013 monthly average of 75.
The figures include stores in Wrexham town centre and all the wards which fall under the Wrexham town umbrella.
Sgt Davies said: “Operation Santa has been a clear success and we have heard from shop owners and customers that having an increased presence of officers on the streets has made a difference.
“I’ve had people come up to me during the Christmas period who have said how good it is to see more police on patrol during the day and in the evenings.
“Forty-four shoplifting offences in December is still an amount we’d like to reduce, but a 21 per cent reduction on last year is quite successful.”
Sgt Davies was also keen to stress that Operation Lex - which has seen an increased police presence on Wrexham’s streets to aid the night time economy - had also been well received, and increased patrols in the day and at night would continue during January.
Cllr Hugh Jones, lead member for communities, partnerships and collaboration, said the success of both operations was “good news for Wrexham”.
“It is fair to say Wrexham has been a great place to be over Christmas and that is in part due to the success of the partnership between our partners including the police and the health service.
“Wrexham has been a safe place to be day and night and we must praise the police for preventing anti-social behaviour before it happens.
“There has been a tremendous atmosphere in the town throughout December. It’s been a good place to come and a safe place to come.”
Chairman of the forum and Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “The increased presence of officers and PCSOs creates the right impression and enables shoppers to feel safe.
“Visible police officers on our streets have certainly helped this Christmas.”