Operation Kraken to see increased police patrols until Christmas Eve

07 December 2022

"We won’t allow criminals to dampen your festive cheer!"

That’s the message from police and city centre partners in Sunderland as a Christmas operation aimed at tackling crime and disorder gets underway.

Operation Kraken has proven to be a big success year on year – with anti-social behaviour down by 35 per cent following the 2021 activity.

The initiative – ran in partnership with The Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) and Sunderland City Council – will once again see uniformed and plain-clothed officers tackling all city centre criminality in order to protect residents, shoppers and businesses.

Led by Sergeant Maria Ord and the city centre Neighbourhood Policing Team, Operation Kraken will see increased police patrols and intervention until Christmas Eve (December 24) to ensure Sunderland remains a safe city to live and work in – as well as visit.

Sgt Ord, of Northumbria Police, said: “In recent years we have enjoyed some fantastic results through our dedicated Christmas operation which has led to a significant reduction in city centre crime, including anti-social behaviour.

“That’s why we are keen to launch it once again, working in collaboration with our partners and the public to ensure the city remains a hassle-free environment, allowing families to safely enjoy the run up to Christmas.

“You will see an increased police presence in the city centre – please don’t be alarmed. We are there to keep you safe, chat to you, and also respond to any pockets of disorder that may arise.

“Anyone who comes into Sunderland with the intention of causing trouble or committing crime can expect to be dealt with robustly – and face the prospect of spending the festive period behind bars. This type of operation is only possible through fantastic teamwork and dedication from our partners, and we’re looking forward to hopefully seeing more positive results this festive season.”

Kirsty Currie, Operations Manager at Sunderland BID, said: “Operation Kraken plays a vital role in ensuring that those visiting, working or living in the city, enjoy what the city centre has to offer and we are delighted to be working once again in partnership with Northumbria Police and partners to deliver a safe experience for everyone.

“At what is the busiest time of year at the Bridges for our retailers, we certainly don’t want anyone’s enjoyment spoiled by criminals who think it’s acceptable to use it as an excuse for anti-social behaviour.”

Karen Eve, Centre Director at The Bridges, said: “Operation Kraken has been a real success in the past, which is why we are delighted to once again be partnering with the BID and the police to ensure that the experience of shopping in Sunderland in the run up to Christmas is a safe and positive one.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is one a range of measures we are looking at to make sure our city centre is a safe and pleasant place to be. We’re delighted to once again be working with Northumbria Police, the Bridges and Sunderland BID on this drive to keep our city centre safe over the festive period.

“The 35 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour we saw following Operation Kraken last year speaks for itself in terms of the effectiveness of joint working, which will see our anti-social behaviour and enforcement officers working alongside the police and business partners.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, added: “Operation Kraken is a fine example of proactive policing and ramped up prevention work that’s dedicated to fighting crime in Sunderland. It’s worked with great results before and I’m confident this year’s plans will continue delivering successful results.”

If you see anything suspicious in the city centre, please report it to an officer on patrol or by using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the website. In an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always dial 999.

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