Police boost street presence in anti-crime operation

Constable Ruth Irvine and Constable Jonny Rainey performing traffic stops in Ballymena. INBT50-254AC
Constable Ruth Irvine and Constable Jonny Rainey performing traffic stops in Ballymena. INBT50-254AC

Ballymena police have launched their annual festive anti-crime initiative under the title of ‘Operation Season’s Greetings’.

Retail crime, drink driving and the dissident threat are top of the agenda this festive season and residents will notice an increased police presence around the borough.

Ballymena Chief Inspector Stephen McAuley said: “It won’t come as any surprise that coming up to Christmas certain things such as retail crime, shoplifting, travelling criminal gangs who sell fraudulent goods and all those types of criminal acts are on the increase.”

With an increased dissident threat across Northern Ireland, Chief Inspector McAuley told the Times that whilst there is no specific threat to Ballymena from dissident terrorists, his officers will be remain vigilant.

“It is part and parcel of policing throughout Northern Ireland that we must remain alert to the activities of Dissident Republicans.

“It’s not unusual for us to increase our presence due to the potential for incendiary devices in shops. “

He said that while Terrorists seek to create a climate of fear police would on the streets in large numbers performing high visibility policing as a deterrent to criminality and to re-assure the general public.“We are certainly not complacent, it is an issue that we take very, very seriously. We are doing everything to combat that.”

Due to the increased province-wide threatlevel, drivers may notice an increase of vehicle check points, once a familiar ritual on local raods.

The Chief Inspector said: “We do regret that people get inconvenienced by long traffic queues, but it’s not done without a great deal of thought.They are essential in keeping people safe.”

The police chief appealed to residents and shoppers to report anything they deem suspicious immediately.