Kingston's first priority is safety

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By whitelc | Thursday, December 13, 2012, 16:52

Kingstonfirst is once again backing police in their extra efforts to make Town Centre streets safe this Christmas.

Police will be making additional evening patrols during Operation Giftwrap, which launched on Wednesday, December 12th  and runs until Sunday, January 6th.

It follows the success of the scheme over the past two years which has contributed to crime over the Christmas and new year period dropping by up to 25 per cent despite the number of visitors to the area doubling.

Ros Morgan, chief executive of Kingstonfirst, said: "We are once again delighted to be supporting the excellent Operation Giftwrap initiative over Christmas and the New Year.

"This initiative has had a real effect on reducing crime in the town in the past and we are certain that it will have a similar impact again this year.

"Having more uniformed police officers patrolling the Town Centre during the early and late evenings provides tremendous reassurance both to the public as well as to our dedicated retail workers, who are working extended hours in this busy Christmas period."

The increased police presence partly coincides with the extended opening hours during December which sees many key Town Centre retailers, including John Lewis, Bentalls and the Bentall Centre, opening their doors until 9pm every weekday evening.

Gary Taylor, Police Town Inspector said: "Operation Giftwrap is a police response to the increases in public in the Town Centre over a three-week period. Our primary objective is to ensure the public and the shop owners feel safe with a visible increase in police numbers. This operation has been very successful in the past in cutting crime and raising confidence in the public."

As well as Kingstonfirst and the police, the Operation Giftwrap programme is also partnered by the UK Border Agency and London Fire Brigade in order to provide the added security to one of London's busiest shopping centres.

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