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Durham police pledge action every day during 'Mad March'
POLICE have launched a ‘Mad March’ campaign to improve relations with residents, boost confidence and cut fear of crime.
At least one event or measure above and beyond the police’s regular duties will be staged across the Durham City area every day during March, with senior officers hoping to boost community engagement.
The scheme, also known as Operation Swanston, began today (Friday, March 1), with officers: meeting Durham University students to discuss anti-social behaviour, tackling underage drinking in Sherburn Village, staging an information event in Durham Market Place and having a more visible presence in Durham late tonight.
Paul Anderson, neighbourhood inspector for Durham City, said all work would be in addition to everything the police would normally do, this would be achieved through juggling existing resources and could not be sustained for longer than a month.
“Durham is a safe place but I still think we can improve,” Insp Anderson said.
“We will be working with communities and informing them of what we’re doing, that we’re there to help them and how they can contact us.
“The name came from thinking we were totally mad to do this on this scale. But we should be doing this for the community.”
The image of the March Hare jumping around from place to place was a good illustration, he added.
Other agencies involved include the fire brigade, Durham County Council, HM Revenue and Customs and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Within the police, all 35 Durham neighbourhood officers will be involved, plus CID and the dog section.
Detective Inspector Traci(CORR) McNally, from Durham CID, said her officers would be targeting known offenders and focusing on tackling vehicle thefts, thefts from vehicles and burglaries.
In October 2011, police launched an ambitious effort to make Durham the UK’s safest city, overtaking places such as Cambridge, Oxford and York.
Insp Anderson said the Safe City campaign was going “exceptionally well”, with crime down 13 per cent and detection rates up.
Durham Police can be contacted by calling 101.