Operation Steadfast Festive, led by Stirling Council and Police Scotland, had a number of aims, including:
* Tackling *acquisitive crime
* Deterring and detecting anti-social behaviour
* Protecting vulnerable people from harm
* Offering personal safety and crime prevention advice
* Ensuring people got home safely from a night out
* Improving the quality of life for people living and visiting Stirling.
During the latest instalment of the operation, both organisations maintained a high-visibility presence in the city centre, with support from the Council’s Safe Base and Youth Participation Teams, along with the Street Pastors and Taxi Marshalls.
A mobile police unit was located in Port Street during the day and then in Friars Street at night.
While 11 more crimes were reported compared to the same period last year, the increased police resource and the activities of the various safety schemes enabled enquiries to be undertaken at the earliest opportunity.
Notably, assaults fell by seven from 19 to 12, more than a third of targeted stop and searches proved successful and only two crimes were reported on Friars Street, an area with previous issues of anti-social behaviour.
Police also reported positive feedback from members of the public and business owners on the improvements delivered by the initiative.
Continuing to enhance safety
Convener of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison, said: “This positive partnership between the Council, Police Scotland and other agencies is continuing to enhance safety in the city centre.
“It’s pleasing to see Operation Steadfast deliver further positive results over the festive period, particularly in the reduction of assaults, and I would like to thank everyone involved in all the safety schemes for their hard work, dedication and professionalism.”
Visible and reassuring presence
Chief Inspector Gill Marshall, Local Area Commander for Stirling, said: "The purpose of Operation Steadfast is for police and partners at Stirling Council to provide a visible and reassuring presence within the City Centre during busy periods so that together we can deter criminal activity, or respond to any such incidents that arise.
"I believe Operation Steadfast Festive 2019 was another success for this initiative, with large numbers of the public making positive comments about the availability and helpfulness of the police officers and Council personnel in attendance within the city centre.
"We saw an additional 11 crimes recorded in comparison to the previous year, driven by proactive identification of criminality and because we had officers located in the heart of the city, we were able to respond quickly and commence our inquiries.
“What is really pleasing to see, though, is that the number of assaults, which occurred during Operation Steadfast Festive 2019, fell from 2018. Furthermore, Friars Street, which has previously been a problematic area of the city centre, only saw two low-level crimes occur.
“Both ourselves and Stirling Council will now begin the planning discussions for the next phase of Operation Steadfast later this year."
In 2019, Operation Steadfast also proved successful when it was rolled out over the summer and during Stirling University’s Freshers’ Week.
A priority for the Council
Vice Convener of Stirling Council’s Public Safety Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Keeping people safe is a priority for the Council and, once again, this initiative has shown the benefits of pulling our resources with Police Scotland and other local organisations.
“We will now look forward to collaborating with Police Scotland and other key partners on future instalments of this successful scheme as we bid to keep Stirling a safe, secure and welcoming place to live, work and visit.”
Mags Fenner, Go Forth Stirling Project Manager said: “Go Forth Stirling is pleased to support Operation Steadfast and delighted that the Operation is once again a demonstrable success.
“As Stirling's Business Improvement District, we are always striving to improve conditions for our city's traders, including those involved in the night-time economy. Operation Steadfast supports us in that aim; being a key tool in ensuring our city centre is safe both for residents and those choosing to come and visit Stirling."
Picture details and background info
*Acquisitive crime is when an offender derives material gain from the crime, such as theft, fraud and robbery.
Pictured are Stirling Council Officers from the Economic Development and Communities and Safer Communities Teams, along with Officers from Police Scotland; Danielle McRorie-Smith, Chair of Go Forth Stirling; and a representative from the Stirling Street Pastors.