Police and partner agencies work to reduce crime and identify child exploitation in City Centre week of action.
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'Operation Perseus' is an initiative set up by GMPs City Centre Neighbourhood Policing team in response to a rise in criminal activity including anti-social behaviour in Manchester City Centre.
The Op Perseus team held a week of action last week (18-22nd April 2022), which involved police joining forces with partner agencies including, the TravelSafe Partnership, Children's Society, BIFFA and Manchester City Council's outreach and anti-social behaviour teams as well as support from GMPs Tactical Aid Unit.
Police Sergeant Lauren Foggarty, of GMPs City Centre Policing Team, said: "This operation has led to GMPs relationship with our partner agencies being further strengthened through some fantastic collaborative working which will make a great difference to the City Centre.
"Last week, one of our focuses was on people using the tram lines illegally and working alongside TravelSafe teams, we engaged with over 6300 passengers and issued a total of £35,400 worth of fines to travellers not paying for tram tickets. Manchester's tram lines are an invaluable transport link for members of the public and we will not tolerate people purposefully not paying to use the service.
"Of course, we are aware that there may be vulnerable people using the trams and our Outreach team were out during the week supporting the operation by approaching those who are vulnerable due to being homeless and sleeping rough, to see what support could be offered to them.
"Carrying on the positive work, we also had officers working with The Children's Society who ultimately supported our officers when approaching under 18s in the city centre.
Jordan Welsby, Contextual Safeguarding Worker with The Children’s Society’s Disrupting Exploitation programme, was out talking to young people during the week and said anti-social behaviour could be a sign of exploitation or other issues in their lives.
She added: “We know of young people in the area who have been groomed, manipulated or coerced for sexual exploitation or to commit crime. Some may be homeless or missing from home or care.
“While they may not seem vulnerable, we know that the trauma of exploitation means young victims may appear to engage in anti-social behaviour or seem angry or aggressive rather than upset or frightened.
“When organisations like The Children’s Society and partner agencies like the police and council engage with these children it’s a golden opportunity to identify risks like exploitation and get them the support and protection they need.”
Kate Green, TravelSafe Partnership Manager at TfGM, said: “Making sure people feel safe and confident when using public transport is the primary focus of the TravelSafe Partnership.
“From the 5,000 hours that are spent patrolling our networks every week, to the 3,800 CCTV cameras that feed into our 24/7-staffed control rooms, we use a range of covert or overt tactics for those involved in fare evasion, crime or antisocial behaviour.
“The success of Operation Perseus wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and hard work of officers and staff on the ground and my continued thanks go to all those involved.”
The week ended on Saturday with a community day held in Piccadilly Gardens where the teams involved set up demonstrations and stalls to engage with the public and offer advice and support to anyone who needed it.