Police and partners launch Operation Respect: festive safety campaign 2016
Issued by Police Scotland
With the approach of the festive season, multi-agency partners have once again come together to support Operation Respect, with the aim of making our local communities in the Highlands and Islands safer for shoppers and party goers.
Starting this Friday (25th November 2016) Operation Respect will see an increased police presence across the city and beyond, with the collective aim of tackling issues such as anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs misuse and associated criminality.
Operation Respect expands beyond the city of Inverness, with local activity and patrol plans taking place in most towns across the Division throughout the festive season; including Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
In Inverness, Operation Respect is supported by Inverness Community Safety Partnership and the city will see an increase in high visibility police patrols, as well as Inverness Business Improvement District (BID) Security Task Team members, Taxi Marshals, the British Red Cross and Inverness Street Pastors.
In addition to increased evening patrols around licensed premises and taxi ranks, there will also be a focus on the security and safety of shoppers and businesses, with plain clothes officers proactively targeting those involved in shoplifting both in the city centre and retail parks.
Inspector Kevin MacLeod, who is leading this year’s operation, is urging people to drink responsibly and act respectfully towards others. He said:
“During the festive period local retail parks, shops and cafes will of course be very busy so we would ask that people be mindful of their own security and remember that criminals see this period as an opportune time to strike on unsuspecting shoppers. Simple safety advice would be to make sure that your shopping is safe by not letting it out of your view at any time, keep your bags closed and ensure your purse or wallet is not easily accessible.”
"Use cash machines in well-lit areas and be mindful that the device has not been tampered with. Shield your pin, be aware of who is behind you and put your money and card away as soon as you’re done."
"Restaurants and bars will also be busy and it is often a time of year that people drink more alcohol than they would normally would. With this in mind, I would remind party-goers to plan ahead and take care not to become involved in unnecessary confrontation. The festive period is a time to celebrate and have fun but and this is easily achievable with a bit of forward planning and consideration.
"Police Scotland is once again delighted to work with our key partners to ensure that people gain the maximum enjoyment over the next few weeks and remain safe in doing so.
Inspector MacLeod added: “Police Scotland and our partners will be distributing a range of personal safety messages, using our social media channels to keep these messages relevant and current. As always we would ask the public to be alert to any dangers or suspicious activity and report to the police using 101, or in an emergency using 999".
John McDonald, Community Safety Manager of Inverness BID said:
‘Inverness Business Improvement District are pleased to once again be an integral part of the Operation Respect Partnership in the run up to Christmas and throughout the Festive Period.
Once again our focus will be twofold, firstly our BID Task Team, jointly funded by Inverness BID and the Inverness Common Good Fund, will assist in providing a highly visible daytime and early evening presence in the City Centre, assisting the other Agencies and partners in providing and maintaining a safe and secure environment for those doing business, visiting and/or shopping in Inverness. Secondly, BID Taxi Marshalls will make a positive contribution to ensuring people get home safe at the end of the night after enjoying the cultural and festive entertainment that Inverness provides.’
Provost of Inverness and Area Councillor Helen Carmichael said:
“City Members are delighted to again support Operation Respect through the Inverness Common Good Fund. We welcome the continued partnership approach to ensuring the safety and happiness of locals and visitors to our city at this seasonal time. By ensuring the wellbeing of everyone who uses the city centre we can maintain and improve the economic vibrancy of our Highland capital.”
Mark Hadfield, Co-ordinator for Inverness Street Pastors said:
"Operation Respect is about helping us all to have an enjoyable and safe holiday season by respecting each other and respecting the community. Whether shopping, enjoying the city's night life, or wherever we live and work, let's all look out for one another and not just leave it to the professionals. Inverness is a great place to enjoy the holiday. Simple precautions prevent the enjoyment from becoming spoilt so please dress warm, plan journeys, stay together, and respect both your own and one another's limits."
"Our volunteers will be on the streets on key dates in the day and night to help everything go well and to join in with the fun. If you need a bit of help or you just fancy a chat then we're here for you. Our SafeZONE van will be available on busier nights to warm-up over a hot drink. It's also a great place to have planned to regroup with friends or to charge mobile phones. The van will be parked next to the British Red Cross for anybody needing First Aid."