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Focusing on violent crime, roads and response times – local police priorities over the New Year period

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Focusing on violent crime, roads and response times – local police priorities over the New Year period

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In readiness for the surge of activity during the festive season, Devon and Cornwall Police Officers in South Devon are stepping up their patrols in a bid to help keep people safe. 

Working across South Hams, Torbay and Teignbridge, the officers will be actively confronting drink drivers, tackling violent crime including domestic violence and sexually aggressive behaviour, and deterring antisocial behaviour throughout the peak season.

As a result of enhanced patrols, officers also aim to improve response times to 999 calls and reported crimes, arriving quicker on scene.

As part of their bid to address domestic violence over the festive season, officers would like to reassure victims that the police will prioritise anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse. Victims will be provided with safeguarding and specialist support, and perpetrators actively pursued. Domestic violence can take various forms, such as threats, violence, abuse, stalking, harassment or coercive and controlling behaviour.

South Devon Commander, Chief Superintendent Roy Linden, said: “This time of year can be a happy time for many, celebrating with their families and loved ones. However, we are aware that for some it can be a difficult time with an increase in the risk of people being a victim of domestic abuse.

"We’d like to reassure victims that we are here for you, 365 days a year and this doesn’t stop over Christmas.”

Additionally, as part of Project Vigilant - a policing initiative designed to tackle violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls – both uniformed and non-uniformed officers will be deployed during the party season to spot predatory behaviour and challenge it immediately, intervening in situations before they escalate to an offence.  

In an effort to keep the roads safe, officers will be running enhanced vehicle stops to catch dangerous drivers as part of Op Limit. This will see more drivers being pulled over for a breathalyser and roadside drug tests, as well as carrying out checks on the roadworthiness of vehicles using our roads.

Superintendent Ben Asprey, Devon and Cornwall Police’s lead for Op Limit, said: “Tackling drink and drug driving is a priority for us. Our officers will be out in force, rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.

"Even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system increases the risk of causing serious harm to yourself or other road users. Please, don’t risk it – let’s make sure everyone gets home safe.”

To deter offences happening on the streets of South Devon, high-visibility patrols will be taking place during the peak celebration days. Officers will be targeting key locations, carrying out proactive preventative patrols to identify and disrupt crime.

Chief Superintendent Roy Linden said: “Targeting violent crimes, domestic abuse and road crimes remains a priority for police in South Devon.

"Alongside our partners, we are committed to doing all we can to keep you safe this Christmas and New Year. By increasing our patrols, we aim to respond to your emergency calls for help faster and arrive on scene for you much quicker.

"We understand that [New Year] goes hand-in-hand with festive celebrations. So, if you are out and about over the next few weeks, please look after each other and don’t get into situations where behaviour can escalate into violence. Stay safe and be merry.”

Useful guidance for the festive period:

  • If you suspect someone has been drinking or taken drugs and is about to drive, please dial 999 and provide the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.
  • If you see someone being harassed or abused, and if you or anyone is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 999.
  • If you are out and a situation becomes heated, try to steer them away from the situation if it’s safe to do so and encourage them to walk away. If the situation escalates, call 999.

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