POLICE have arrested 55 people in Bolton in three weeks as part of a drive to clamp down on domestic violence.

Officers have vowed to support victims of domestic violence and bring offenders to justice.

Operation Homesafe has been running over the past three weekends and will continue this week.

Trained officers have been working through the night on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday - the days when incidents of domestic violence are at their highest.

There are about 6,000 reported incidents of domestic violence each year in Bolton, with 50 per cent of the victims suffering repeat attacks.

Officers say that about 50 per cent of domestic violence incidents involve alcohol.

And the abuse covers a range of injuries from common assaults including broken ribs or jaws, perforated ear drums to threats to kill.

While women are the main victims, 20 per cent of men also suffer at the hands of violent partners or family members.

It takes an average of 35 incidents of abuse before a victim contacts the police.

Sergeant Mick Montford, domestic violence officer at Bolton police station, said: "The first three weekends of the operation have proved extremely successful, with police officers taking positive action when called to domestic violence incidents and we intend to make further arrests over the course of the operation.

"I want victims of domestic violence to have confidence that, if they contact the police, their case will be dealt with sensitively and professionally."

Police say they are trying to make arrests wherever possible and gather evidence at the scene of the crime.

They will set rigorous bail conditions and specially trained officers will take statements, photograph injuries and speak to neighbours and other witnesses.

Support will be offered to victims while suspects are still in custody.

The blitz is headed by police and representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service and Bolton Council.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: "We are pleased with the way the operation is going.

"The important thing is that people who carry out such violence are being held accountable and we are doing everything that can be done to help the victims of violence."

Sgt Montford said: "I also want to send a clear message to perpetrators of domestic violence that their behaviour will not be tolerated and that police officers and the Crown Prosecution Service will take action against them, even without the consent of the victim."