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%.
A combination of relentless law enforcement by Vulcan officers and unwavering support from dedicated partners has brought about real changes in the area. Operation Vulcan is also following the Government strategy of clear, hold, build - through which officers are methodically clearing the area of criminal activity, the next phase is to hold it so other criminal gangs cannot get a foot-hold and ultimately building it into a prosperous area once more where people are proud to live and work.
Cheetham Hill and Strangeways was also well-known across the UK as the place to go for cheap, fake designer goods. The trade in counterfeit goods was estimated by National Trading Standards to be worth £8.6 billion per year, with the area of Cheetham Hill believed to be linked to almost 50% of this trade, earning it the title of the UK capital for counterfeit.
Activity by Operation Vulcan and partners has decimated the network of counterfeit shops in the area and drastically restricted the counterfeit trade.
Operation Vulcan - Piccadilly
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, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, 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.