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Operation Steadfast makes a return for Fresher’s week

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Police Officers patrol Friars Street  Credit: The Daily Record

Authorities in Stirling have re-introduced Operation Steadfast for Fresher’s week 2018.  Police Scotland and Stirling Council have been working in partnership to bring Operation Steadfast back to the city to coincide with Fresher’s week.

The decision to bring back Steadfast was to create a “positive environment” in the city centre for new students, according to a press release from Stirling Council.

The operation, known as Operation Steadfast Freshers, is aimed at new students.  With the high number of new students in Stirling, many of whom are unfamiliar with the area and are having their first experience living away from home, authorities saw fit for there to be a positive police and council presence in the city during freshers.

Officials from the Police, Stirling Council, and other organisations such as the Stirling Street Pastors will work during steadfast to ensure safety and combat antisocial behaviour in the city centre.

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Partnerships as part of Operation Steadfast  Credit: Stirling Council

Operation Steadfast will run until Sunday 16 September, and involves police making visits to licensed premises between 8pm and 2am, as well as officers visiting the university to offer safety advice to new students.

The main aims of the operation have been outlined as, make the Community Safer, Reduce Crime and Antisocial Behaviour, Protect Young and Vulnerable People from harm, Improve the quality of life of people living in and visiting Stirling and Educate young drivers of the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Student Union’s Vice President for Communities, Jamie Grant, spoke to Brig about the return of Operation Steadfast, he said;

“Operation Steadfast has worked over summer, and after speaking to local residents it is clear that it has helped to reduce crime in the local area, it is good to see the police working to a public need.

“It is great to see the police working on student safety in Stirling,” he added.

Inspector Anton Stephenson from Police Scotland commented saying;

“The first Operation Steadfast was very much the beginning of a long-term approach for Stirling City centre and brought partners together to work in a joined up way.

“The initial results were very encouraging and has given us something to build on. Steadfast Fresher’s is now underway and planning for Steadfast Festive is almost complete.

“I can re-assure the public though that in between the Steadfast Operations we have had, we will continue to have increased high visibility patrols in the city centre and we will work with partners on an ongoing basis.

“We are seeing very positive results right across that area in terms of reducing antisocial behaviour, violence and disorder and would urge the public to continue to report incidents to us.”

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Credit: Forth Valley Police

The convenor of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, Maureen Bennison, said;

“The start of the new academic year always brings a lot of new faces to Stirling and we welcome them with open arms.

“We want them to feel at home in Stirling straight away, and hopefully not just for their time at university or college.

“The Council is always working with partners to enhance the quality of life for people visiting or living in Stirling, taking in everything Stirling has to offer, including its excellent night and social life.

“That’s why it makes such sense to roll out Operation Steadfast again, giving the City centre a strong and positive presence of Council staff and Police teams to secure public safety and support the community.”

Vice convenor, Councillor Chris Kane, added: “We had great feedback from businesses and residents about Operation Steadfast in the summer when the City experiences one of its busiest spells so it made perfect sense to roll it out again for Fresher’s Week.

“Moving to a new town or City is a moment that will last with the new students for the rest of their lives and we want to make sure those memories are as happy as possible.”

The first run of Operation Steadfast took place in the summer of 2018, a busy time for the  city, and was seen as a success.

Operation Steadfast ran between the 28 June and the 29 July in Stirling, and involved the presence of a mobile police station on Friars Street, and joint patrols between officers from Forth Valley Police Division and other agencies, focusing on areas such as Friars Street, Baker Street, Back Walk and Murray Place.

The first run of Operation Steadfast saw Victim reported crime down by 50%, Pro-active police captures up by 81%, Violent Crime (assaults) down by 75% and Theft by shoplifting down by 100%.

The local area commander for Stirling, Chief Inspector Gill Boulton praised the operation after it’s success over the summer.

Plans are in preparation for Operation Steadfast to return to Stirling over the Christmas period.

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