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PSNI and businesses praise Xmas arrests

Police have revealed an increase in arrests over the Christmas 2009 period in comparison to the previous year's festive period.

Provisional figures released last week show that for the period November 30, 2009, to January 3, 2010, police made over 60 arrests and reported 46 people to the Public Prosecution Service.

“While these figures are provisional, they surpass last year's figures which amounted to 54 arrests and 30 reports for the entire month of December 2008,” said a police spokeswoman.

“The arrests included 30 for theft, eight for outstanding warrants, seven for riotous behaviour, three for burglary, three for breach of bail, three for disorderly behaviour, two for robbery and five for other offences,” a police spokeswoman said.

Retail outlets received 2,067 visits from police officers compared to almost 1,400 in December 2008.

Almost 1,700 people received advice or warnings for minor offences – almost 600 more than in the previous year.

“The robust and highly-visible Christmas policing plan was part of ‘Operation Seasons’ Greetings’ which aimed to keep people safe over the festive period when towns and cities across Northern Ireland are traditionally much busier,” a police spokeswoman said.

B District Chief Superintendent Brian Maguire welcomed the figures.

He said: “While we have to bear in mind that these figures are provisional, I am nonetheless proud of the hard work and commitment of our officers who have worked tirelessly to make this Christmas period as safe as possible for shoppers and revellers, and as uncomfortable as possible for criminals.”

Belfast city centre manager Andrew Irvine said retailers were pleased with the Christmas policing operation.

He said: “I would like to congratulate our City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Teams on their great work throughout December.

“City Centre businesses have commented on how effective the robust and highly visible police presence has been for businesses.

“It has meant that both retailers and the many thousands of shoppers who visited Belfast on a daily basis could enjoy the Christmas shopping experience.”

Belfast Telegraph