Friday 27 Nov 2020
Police are stepping-up their efforts to disrupt gangs ahead of the Christmas season which traditionally sees a sharp rise in robberies at convenience stores.
Operation Blue Card involves local policing teams and Community Safety Teams working together across the north Wales area to raise awareness regarding store security to help prevent incidents.
Historically over the last few years, armed robberies within convenience shops dramatically increase during the winter months leading up to and post the festive period. Offenders routinely utilise weapons including knives and machetes to threaten staff with a view of stealing cash from the till.
North Wales Police are looking for the support of the managers and owners of the shops to help protect the safety of their staff and customers this year by stopping or at very least reducing the number of robberies.
Shops are being encouraged to move towards contactless and card payments either in the entirety or in the hours of darkness when the offences are usually committed.
Businesses across the region are being contacted by members of the Community Safety Team and those wishing to take part will display posters at shop entrances and payment points to highlight that cashless transactions are in place.
Acting Detective Inspector Dean Jones of NWP’s Crime Services Division said: "It is a common misconception that armed robberies are a victimless crime, with only the businesses suffering. However, this is far from the truth.
“It is important to understand that this is a devastating and often violent crime that can cause deep distress.
“Offenders who target innocent shopkeepers have no compassion at all for their victims who they sometimes subject to a terrifying ordeal.
“They are devious and ruthless and need to be stopped. For this reason, we are urging all shopkeepers to go cashless in the run up to Christmas.
“Historically incidents have been in the Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire areas however the whole region will be involved with the campaign to help prevent incidents from happening. So far the feedback we’ve received from the shops that have been contacted has been extremely positive.
He added: “Given the current COVID 19 pandemic this is an especially relevant time to take action as it will also serve to protect everyone in respect of the spread of the virus through cash transactions.”
Any shop owners or managers who may be interested in taking part are encouraged to contact a member of their local Community Safety Team.
Anybody who witnesses suspicious behaviour in or around local convenience stores and off-licences are urged to contact North Wales Police on 101 or via the live web chat giving as much details as they can. In an emergency always dial 999.
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