ASB is categorised as any offence that causes harassment, alarm, or distress. All local shops or bars have the power to issue Civil Banning Notices to anyone undertaking ASB on their premises, to prevent them from entering their premises for up to 12 months. If a banning notice is breached, the police then have the powers to arrest.
PCSO Mohammed Shahid, is a member of the Neighbourhoods Team, working alongside other PCSOs and officers to ensure Operation Heartbeat is a success. PCSO Shahid said: “Coming out of lockdown saw the number of ASB incidents rise, as increased numbers of youths headed to the town centre to meet up with others and generally wreak havoc.
“Operation Heartbeat identified the areas where ASB incidents were on the rise – such as The Rock, Millgate, Bury Interchange, Kay Gardens and various car parks. In response, patrols have been increased and we have developed radio links with some of these hard-hit areas, so if anyone is identified on CCTV, we can be there straightaway to detain and arrest, preventing any further ASB from being committed.”
Operation Heartbeat also has links with partner agencies, including mental health, social workers, licensing teams and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). TfGM’s partnership with GMP, has further strengthened over the last year. The Transport Unit now has a dedicated crime investigation resource co-located within TfGM’s Control Centre, which with it 3,800 cameras across the network and 24/7 monitoring provides the visibility to support swift deployments by GMP.
The Bury Bus Station Supervisor at Bury Interchange said: “We have developed a good relationship with the PCSOs, who are always checking in on us to make sure we are okay. Together with our own in-house initiatives, this increased visibility is helping to reduce the number of ASB offences being committed.”
As schools and colleges break up for the summer holidays, Bury police are gearing up for a temporary increase in ASB incidents and have implemented a number of deterrents, including a mobile police station being situated in Kay Gardens, in response.
Inspector Scott Brady of Bury Central said: “Operation Heartbeat is going well and shows no signs of slowing down. We have the backing of Greater Manchester Police Serious and Violent Crime Reduction Unit and so medium-term Heartbeat will be with us until at least April 2023.
“As one of the smaller divisions within GMP, we are punching well above our weight. Some of the bigger divisions would be over the moon with results like we have achieved. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We have the busy summer months ahead and hopefully a big bounce back for the Town Centre now Covid is behind us”.
Bury Neighbourhoods Chief Inspector Samantha Goldie, added: “Bury Town Centre is a vibrant and bustling town which attracts communities across Greater Manchester and beyond. We are very proud to have the Purple Flag status and a Best Bar None licensing scheme both of which seek to make the Town Centre safer.