OFFICERS took to the streets of Barrow in an ongoing operation to increase police presence and to act as an early prevention of crime.

Mail reporter Charlie Fox joined officers from Barrow Police on one of their regular foot patrols yesterday through the town centre as part of a large-scale initiative to help prevent crime and to establish closer bonds with the community.

This high-profile patrol saw officers joined by police boss Peter McCall, the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, as they walked down Dalton Road through town.

Along the way they sought to engage with the public, entering shops and logging low levels of crime reported by the community.

One of the officers, PC Howard Lindow, said on the patrol: “My usual role is as a response officer but for the purposes of Operation Sawfish we are taken off duty to carry out high visibility policing.

“Many of the things we experience on these patrols involves low levels of crime and anti social behaviour.

“We often go into the shops in the area and everyone really seems to appreciate us being there.

“We have also found that many residents tend to feel anxious when a large group of young people are gathered together so in those circumstances we would simply try to break the group up if we feel they are causing trouble.”

As part of the operation launched in December 2018, statistical analysis based on calls for service and a prediction of future trends highlighted Barrow town centre as one of the hotspot areas for crime.

Only last week teens were banned from entering McDonald’s after a series of incidents within the restaurant.

Mr McCall said by carrying out such patrols it puts out the message to the small minority of people who cause disruption that they are “not in charge.”

He also mentioned the significance of developing relationships with the community and how such schemes are all about a “long term investment” towards public safety.