GMP Statement: 1 April

Zac Fraser
Chief Inspector 15407
City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team
Greater Manchester Police

I write with a summary of the City Centre team actions over the past week.

As outlined in my previous update, COVID-19 has provided a potential opportunity for those with a criminal intent to cause harm to businesses through burglaries whilst unoccupied.

The City Centre team has been patrolling regularly, particularly overnight, in the past seven days there have been a number of burglaries and attempted burglaries, therefore the key message remains around prevention and awareness.

We have responded to all of the reported offences and arrested nine people in the last week either during the offence or immediately after an area search, there have been a couple of occasions where the suspects had made off before our arrival, these are being investigated via CCTV trawls to hopefully identify and arrest the perpetrators.

I have had sight of a number of concerns raised around Piccadilly Gardens more specifically the safety and well being of staff walking between public transport and their place of work.

I have a significantly enhanced presence across the City Centre at this time, officers are on patrol in high visibility and plain clothes throughout the day and into the late evening in order to disrupt, deter and detect ongoing criminality.

Whilst I am unable to disclose operational detail, names involved or tactics at this time, in the past seven days the team focusing on the area has made 16 arrests, 148 stop and account, 49 stop searches (of which 18 were positive) and 10 Section 35 dispersal notices have been issued.

What I would like to say is if you or your colleagues feel they have been involved in an incident or put in fear of violence, please report it either via 101 or 999 in an emergency.

If the matter involves your business premises please continue to report via the BCRP, CityCo send us intelligence updates that we can act upon. My patrols and deployments are led by analysing demand data; therefore if it isn’t reported or logged correctly I can’t tailor my deployments to match.

A number of concerns have been raised around the homeless and people who sleep rough community; I have been working in conjunction with Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority to enhance the accommodation offer to those on the streets.

My team have been undertaking outreach work all week and so far managed to secure accommodation for over fifty individuals for the coming months. This is an ongoing piece of work which is challenging due to the high complex needs of some individuals, it is more difficult that simply finding a place to sleep but also requires a holistic approach to dealing with other concerns including drug and alcohol addition, poor mental health and changing people’s accustomed way of life.

There has been some disruption to day services provided by charities supporting individuals; the reduced footfall across the city has seen a decrease in available income via begging.

The subsequent impact of which has been an increase in shoplifting, primarily the offenders appear to be selling the goods stolen or steeling alcohol to consume and meet their addiction needs.

I would like to seek prevention where possible, non-essential items should either be removed or placed behind the counter for purchase particularly bottles of spirits or high value items.

I will seek to provide a further update in the near future.