A new police “high street squad” has been sent in to Bolton town centre to tackle robberies, burglaries and shoplifting.

The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) team has been deploying newly recruited officers, supported by senior officers, into Bolton town centre over the last few months to help support security staff and identify theft hotspots.

So far, they claim the team has already arrested and charged people for shoplifting and robbery crimes as well as various kinds of anti-social behaviour.

Sergeant David Keir, from GMP’s Bolton district, said: “Our operation benefits Bolton two-fold.

“Their new neighbourhood officers quickly acquire new skills, while the problems of shoplifting and other crimes which involve taking without consent theft, robberies and burglaries, are all directly tackled as a result of the work being done.

The Bolton News: The high street squad out in Bolton town centreThe high street squad out in Bolton town centre (Image: GMP)

“We have worked closely with stores and local partners to ensure the best work possible is being done for Bolton.

“Recently, one store called us up to give us a direct tip-off, which resulted in a subsequent arrest suspicion of shoplifting.

“Other stores will talk to us about the ways in which things are stolen, including times and who is responsible.

“This assists with intelligence and helps us paint a picture of offenders and where they are likely to target.”

Sgt Keir and his colleagues say that as well as sharing tips with people running businesses about how to deal with crime, the high street squad also allows newly recruited officers to hone skills they will use during the rest of their careers.

He has also urged people to continue reporting incidents when they become aware of them.

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Sgt Keir said: “Ultimately, if we receive a report, we will act on it, and our officers are committed to keeping Bolton’s streets safe while reducing crime.

“If you are a business owner in Bolton, please do get in touch with us.

“We want to hear from you and what you would like to see us do to help.”

Anyone with any information or concerns about crime in Bolton town centre can call police on 101 or 999 in the event of an emergency.

Alternatively, witnesses can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.