Operation Vulcan: why the policing operation that shut down ‘counterfeit street’ is coming to Piccadilly Gardens… counterfeits not included
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In autumn 2022, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched Operation Vulcan to clear the areas of Cheetham Hill and Strangeways of the counterfeit goods trade and associated organised crime.
Eleven months on and the area today paints a very different picture, with over 200 counterfeit shops shut down, over 1000 tonnes of counterfeit items repurposed and recycled, £520,000 cash seized, and violent crime and public order offences reduced by 50%.
Following this success, Greater Manchester Police and partners vow to bring the same dynamic change, vigour and enthusiasm to Piccadilly Gardens.
Using the same specialist taskforce, alongside local neighbourhood officers and PCSO’s, dedicated resources will be embedded into Piccadilly Gardens to identify the root causes of the existing problems and work closely with local residents and partners to eliminate the criminality in all its forms, helping to create a safer community and supporting businesses to thrive and grow.
Policing alone will not solve these problems, and that is why the multi-agency approach is so key to tackle the issues in Piccadilly Gardens. Working with Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and local businesses and charities, this is our commitment to tackling and creating sustainable resolutions to issues such as anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, exploitation, theft from person, and violent crime which have, for too long, impacted the lives and livelihoods of those in and around Piccadilly Gardens.
Detective Superintendent Neil Blackwood, who will be leading the specialist team of officers in Piccadilly Gardens, said: “Building on the success of the existing partnerships we have, strengthening the multi-agency approach to key issues that are impacting the lives of the local community and visitors, police and partners will use every power and policy available to revitalise the area.
“Operation Vulcan Piccadilly is the product of hours of interactions with locals, residents, and partners from across Manchester, and represents what they want from their police force. We will work with the public to fight crime and anti-social behaviour, utilising all of the specialist resources within GMP to make a real difference in the area.
“We want Piccadilly Gardens to feel safer and become a more welcoming place for people to live, work, and socialise, but make no mistake, we will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to any criminality, and we will be relentless in our pursuit to make this a hostile environment for criminals."
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We welcome this operation, with the police focusing resources on Piccadilly Gardens and acting on concerns raised by the community, the Council and others.
“The Council will support the operation whether through services to improve the appearance of the area as anti-social behaviour is reduced, or by aiding vulnerable people who need support – for example drug and alcohol treatment or safeguarding.
“Piccadilly Gardens is a public space with huge potential and we’ve seen it successfully host events such as the Christmas Markets and more recently screenings of Lionesses matches. It’s a much-used space, with 150,000 people a day passing through it, but we recognise that it has issues with crime and anti-social behaviour and that negative perceptions surround it.
“This commitment from the police will help make it an area which is welcoming to everyone except those with criminal or anti-social intent. Building on this foundation, the Council has appointed designers to come up with a plan to transform the area, creating a welcoming, flexible and family-friendly space. Together we can deliver real improvements.”