New man at the helm of South Shields town centre policing team
Opportunist thieves and people who prey on South Tyneside's most vulnerable are firmly in the sights of new police inspector Phil Baker.
The officer, who has 21 years experience with the force, has taken on the role of Neighbourhood Inspector for West Shields and the Riverside.
The job includes looking after South Shields town centre and as the festive season starts to take grip he is determined the area will continue to be a safe place for people to visit.
Already, Christmas crime crackdown campaign Operation Holly has been launched in a bid to tackle the traditional seasonal crime surge over the festive season.
Extra resources to bolster the presence of officers in the town centre have been brought in as police continue to target known offenders and prevent travelling criminals in their tracks.
Insp Baker, who has also spent time as a detective in Sunderland before returning to uniformed patrols, said: “I’m really keen to make a real impact in the town centre. There is already lots of good work going on in the area.
“But we have to look at the issues affecting the most vulnerable. Operation Holly is about protecting people but it’s also looking at targeting offenders and preventing people from causing trouble.”
He added: “South Shields is a safe place to live and the teams are doing a fantastic job and I just want to keep building on that, through continuing to work closely with our partners at the council, and charities who support some of our most vulnerable residents.”
Heading into the festive season, he is keen to raise the importance of people ensuring their vehicles are locked and nothing is left on display, as well as shops and commercial premises making sure no cash, no matter how small the amount, is left on the premises overnight.
He has also praised the recent work targeting illegal motorbike riders through the use of DNA spray.
He said: “The DNA spray is working really well. But we still need people to let us know where the bikes are being kept.” The teams can be followed on Twitter @NPSWestShields