City Centre Businesses: Statement from GMP Superintendent Zac Fraser13th Jan 2021
Dear Manchester city centre businesses,
When I wrote via CityCo to you in March 2020, my team and I were developing a number of operational strategies to support the city centre through Covid and these were supported by several contingency plans to maintain security and public order. Due to your actions, positive attitude and hard work implementing preventative measures, the contingency plans have, to date, never been required and where the risk to public health has allowed, some businesses have managed to open in a limited capacity, for your work in enabling that in a safe way I am very thankful to you all.
The true impact of Covid on businesses, families, mental health and the loss of loved ones is now showing for us all, in addition demand on public sector resource has shifted significantly, diversifying the requirements for police to attend incidents that I personally had never foreseen being part of daily activity in keeping the general public safe.
Across the city centre we are seeing public order and acquisitive crime offences remain apparent on our streets, the absence of a night-time economy and reduced footfall presents opportunities to offenders who seek to take advantage in the reduction of natural surveillance, targeting those people and premises most vulnerable.
We must continue to work together to deter and prevent crime, I would ask that you continue to take suitable precautions for your own premises, when closed for an extended period I would ask any cash is removed from your premises with any high value items placed into secure storage/stock areas rather than left on public display. To reassure your staff and colleagues, policing continues to operate 24/7 across the city centre with a mixture of high visibility and covert operations seeking to prevent and detect harm.
The challenges of responding to Covid has had a positive effect in some areas of our work, I believe the support of the homeless and street sleeping communities has accelerated in efficiency and effectiveness through stronger partnership across private, public and third sector organisations. We have collaborated to develop a robust model of good practice across Manchester that is being recognised nationally – helping hundreds of people over the last ten months with their personal needs and into accommodation aiming for sustainable outcomes. We continue to see new people on the streets each week in the city, as a collective we are working tirelessly to identify and support them, undertaking re-connection work where possible.
We find ourselves facing a challenging situation once again, with a further lockdown being implemented to protect the health of all. The intelligence you provide around crime, offenders and key locations continues to be vitally important to our local policing offer, as does gaining a developed understanding of your needs, concerns and questions, allowing us to develop the local policing strategy in line with your business needs – please continue to raise matters via CityCo to enable us to be more aligned and effective.
I hope that the next time I write we will be planning in more detail how we, as a city, look to build towards long term recovery and the reopening of all businesses, something that once again will require your support, information, and collaboration to achieve from a crime and public safety perspective.
City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team
Greater Manchester Police