Chief Inspector Mick Bruce from Cambridgeshire Constabular tells the BBC’s Paul Stainton that Operation Retain pre-empting weekend disorder in the city centre has cut crime by 40%. Broadcast at 07:15 on Monday 28th June 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: Sometimes of course when England get knocked out the fans don’t always behave. No arrests in South Africa, the fans all behaved themselves, but what about Peterborough? Cambridgeshire Police were out meeting and greeting fans in the city centre over the weekend. Chief Inspector Mick Bruce is in charge of Operation Retain. Morning Mick.
MICK: Good morning.
PAUL: How were they? Were they well behaved in Peterborough?
MICK: They were well behaved in Peterborough. Certainly on Friday and Saturday they were well behaved, and even after the disappointment of the football yesterday. We didn’t have too many problems.
PAUL: Yes. Were there odd pockets here and there?
MICK: We did have an increase in the number of calls we would normally expect on a Sunday evening, but these were quite a while after the end of the game. It might have been a legacy of lots of people drinking during the afternoon, but there was really nothing out of the ordinary, which I’m really pleased to say.
PAUL: Well that is good news. You were out doing what’s called Operation Retain. What does that involve?
MICK: Yes. Operation Retain runs on a Friday and Saturday evening in Peterborough city centre. Some research earlier on in this year showed that a disproportionate amount of violent crime in Peterborough was caused in the city centre on a Friday and Saturday evening. So what we do is rather than the traditional policing of putting officers out just when the incidents are happening, in the early hours, we put them out from six o’clock in the evening in the city centre, so they can in effect meet and greet the public as they come in. They’re there to reassure the public as they come in for their evening out, and they’re also a visible deterrent to those who might cause trouble later on.
PAUL: Right. You’re just making aware that you’re around. and your presence is around and you’re putting that in people’s brains?
MICK: That’s right. And then through the evening we’re working with the licensed premises, with the door staff, to make sure that we’re on hand to nip trouble in the bud as it starts, rather than there later on when it’s perhaps escalated into something more serious.
PAUL: How much does violence in Peterborough city centre go up during the summer months?
MICK: I can’t give you any statistics but it clearly does. We know from experience that it goes up, and it stands to reason that it would. With the lighter evenings and the warmer weather people go out more in the city centre and drink more in general. So we do know that there is a spike during the summer months, and this operation is designed to reduce that violent disorder and those violent incidents, and so far, since the beginning of May we’ve reduced the number of violent incidents in the city centre over the weekend by about forty per cent.
PAUL: Well I’m glad it had .. you had a quieter .. quiet weekend. Chief Inspector Mick Bruce in charge of Operation Retain. No problems reported in Peterborough, and the fans all behaved in South Africa as well. At least we can be proud of the England fans over the weekend, not so much the England team, or the players.