The Herald

‘Ring of steel’ round Glasgow

Suspects to be searched on their way into Glasgow centre

- LUCY ADAMS CHIEF REPORTER

POLICE are to throw a “ring of steel” around the centre of Glasgow tomorrow. Suspected trouble-makers will be stopped and searched in a pioneering crackdown on crime.

SCORES of suspected criminals and gang members will be stopped and searched on their way into a city centre this Friday night in a pioneering crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour.

More than 160 additional officers from Strathclyd­e Police and the British Transport Police (BTP) will use metal detectors to target known troublemak­ers and suspects, whether they are driving or taking public transport to the city centre.

The aim is to create a “ring of steel” around Glasgow city centre to prevent weapons and drugs coming into the city and curb anti-social behaviour, robbery and assault.

The force’s own figures show that robbery is 6% higher from November to January than it is during the summer. It is thought the seasonal increase is partly as a result of dark nights and the influx of Christmas shoppers.

Automatic Number Plate Recognitio­n (ANPR) machines, which can check up to 3000 licence plates an hour on vehicles travelling at speeds of up to 100mph, will be used to alert officers to routes suspects are taking towards the city.

Those flagged for gang fighting or suspected of carrying weapons or drugs will be stopped and searched. Community safety wardens, taxi stewards and door staff will also be checking known hotspots with mobile CCTV vans and hand-held metal detectors.

Detective chief superinten­dent Campbell Corrigan, who is leading the operation, said that for some people this might be the only time in the year that they come into the city centre at night and that ensuring their safety is paramount.

“The most important thing to stress is that this is aimed at making people feel safer,” he said. “The operation will be intelligen­ce-led. We know who we want to target and the routes they are likely to take into the city. It is about preventing bad people coming into the city and ensuring those coming in for their Christmas shopping and nights out can go about their business safely.

“It covers the four corners of the city and the routes people take from outlying towns and housing estates.

“We know who we are looking for and will know from ANPR which vehicles we want to stop. Members of the public will not be unfairly targeted. We will be targeting known hotspots and transit routes. The message is that Friday is not the night to come into the city centre to cause trouble.”

The operation will use some 12 portable metal detectors, many of which were paid for by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government announced last month that it had spent £90,000 on 16 detectors for Scotland’s police forces. Unlike arched detectors, the new pole-shaped devices can be quickly moved and set up in less than a minute, have a 360-degree range and can detect knives being carried within 10ft of the machine.

Kenny MacAskill, the Jus- tice Secretary, said the new portable metal detectors would significan­tly cut the risk of knives being carried in town and city centres at night.

Operation Rose is based on similar campaigns in London and Liverpool targeting criminals travelling into cities. Such campaigns saw a significan­t improvemen­t in feelings of public safety.

The Merseyside operation stopped 677 vehicles and resulted in 89 arrests.

Operation Rose will be repeated across other areas and towns over the coming weeks.

 ??  ?? ALERT: Officers will be posted at city train and bus stations.
ALERT: Officers will be posted at city train and bus stations.

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