Disorder, drugs and dodgy drivers - it's all in a night's work for Bolton police
BOLTON News crime reporter Miranda Newey spends a night out with the town’s police officers on duty.
ATTEMPTED robberies, potential drug users, drivers breaking the law and drunk and disorderly shoppers — it’s all part of a night’s work for Bolton’s bobbies on the beat.
The workload of police officers can be unpredictable to say the very least.
True to form, several hours of observing Bolton’s officers responding to incidents as they were reported on a Friday night lived up to expectations of it being a varied evening.
Covering potential crimes in the early evening it was interesting to get an insight into the types of incidents called in before the pubs and clubs got into full swing.
The team for the shift included Sgt John Moorhouse, from Bolton North Neighbourhood Policing Team, police officers and two special constables, who had given up their time to help.
We were responding to calls across Bolton in a marked police van.
At about 7.45pm while driving around Halliwell, keeping an eye out for any suspected victims of child sexual exploitation, we came across a man driving a Vauxhall Astra in Prospect Street while using a mobile phone — and he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Police offered him advice and he quickly ended his call and belted up before driving away.
Next stop was at Tesco in Longcauseway, Farnworth, following reports of a woman who would not leave the store.
When we arrived at about 8pm there was no sign of the woman but within minutes of driving around the area we came across her in a nearby park. She was clearly drunk and emotional when officers spoke to her. She told police of relationship and family troubles.
Officers poured away her drink and told her to go home as it was her final warning before she would be arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
The next call out was to a newsagent’s shop in Tong Road, Little Lever, where an attempted robbery had taken place at about 7.25pm.
Two robbers had threatened the staff with what appeared to be a blade.
They fled empty handed. After Sgt Moorhouse spoke to the shop owner, we headed in the direction of Breightmet, where we came across a group of teenagers drinking alcohol near Romiley Drive.
The youths, some of whom were unhappy to have their pictures taken by The Bolton News’ photographer, were threatening to start a fight.
But after being given advice by police officers they were on their way.
The back of the police van was dark and very warm and it did not take long for me to start feeling travel sick. But fortunately the frequent stops helped me to “man up” with some fresh air. I was just thankful I was not wearing the protective vests worn by the officers.
A report from a concerned resident in Lever Drive, Great Lever, came in after a group of young men were seen smoking what the person believed was cannabis in the street at about 9.30pm.
When we arrived nobody matching the description could be found, only a group of polite youths who had been playing football.
Off we went to the next job, which appeared to be serious from the outset.
A call had come in about someone firing an air rifle near to flats in Hall’ i’th Wood Lane in Tonge Moor at about 9.40pm.
We pulled up on the road and five officers scoured the area for the culprit — I opted for the safety of staying in the van with the driver until I was given the all clear.
After a short stint of being a pillion to the officers I retreated home while they continued into the night and the early hours of the morning keeping the community safe.
Later that evening officers responded to a serious robbery at a home where the owner was hurt.
Although there was no arrests on my snippet of a “typical” shift it was clear to see how incidents, such as the call-out to Tesco and the youths drinking, could have escalated without police intervention.
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