New task force targets burglary hotspots

Richard Brown, Burnley Council, Malcolm Dewhurst, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Karen Draper, neighbourhood policing admin, Sgt Andy Thorne and Keith Sandham, neighbourhood watch
Richard Brown, Burnley Council, Malcolm Dewhurst, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Karen Draper, neighbourhood policing admin, Sgt Andy Thorne and Keith Sandham, neighbourhood watch

A new task force involving police, fire service and other groups has been launched in Burnley to target hotspot areas of burglary in the town.

The Lancashire Community Safety Partnership has launched the scheme after research by the Jill Dando Institute Into Repeat Victimisation found that burglaries tended to occur in the same area within a short period of time.

Sgt Andy Horne, of Burnley Police, said: “‘Optimal Forager’ is a partnership approach to tackling burglary crimes.

“It stems from a pilot generated by the Jill Dando Institute, which helps identify risk areas for burglary.

“This partnership involves Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, The Princes Trust, Probation via Community Payback, Neighbourhood Watch and others.

“We are handing out a number of safeguarding options to vulnerable victims, including property marking paint and other burglary deterrents.

“The operation ties in with our Darker Nights campaign. The involvement of other groups is a way of community reassurance.”

Sgt Horne said the group would meet once a week to assess crime statistics for given areas and discuss ways to target those.

Malcolm Dewhurst, incident intelligence officer with Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “The fire service carries out what are known as environmental visual audits – looking for stockpiles of rubbish that could cause fires.

“Just our presence on the streets can help to deter burglars and anti-social behaviour.

“We have all suffered from cuts to our resources so this is a good way of working together to help each other out.”