A dedicated festive operation aimed at tackling disorder in Sunderland city centre saw Christmas crime rates drop by 37 per cent.

From November 17 to December 24, officers teamed up with Sunderland City Council, Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) and The Bridges shopping centre as part of a multi-agency crackdown on criminality.

Operation Kraken – ran by police with partners – involved uniformed and plain-clothed officers carrying out dedicated patrols to detect and disrupt crime.

Led by Sergeant Maria Ord and the city centre Neighbourhood Policing Team, the targeted approach was launched to ensure Sunderland remained a safe city in the festive run-up for residents, shoppers and businesses.

And the latest results speak for themselves – with reports of crime down by 37 per cent overall in comparison to the same dates in the previous year. This also saw prominent offences such as burglary down by 71 per cent and violent crimes down by 30 per cent.

Other activity led to officers and partners stopping more than 160 people, as well as making 10 arrests and issuing 44 dispersal notices.

Operation Kraken forms part of a wider ongoing collaboration between police and partners – including the recent launch of the Sunderland Altogether Improving Lives (SAIL) project.

Sgt Ord, of Northumbria Police, said the drop in reports are thanks to the dedicated activity and continued teamwork between all agencies.

She 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.

“And the festive run-up in 2022 was no different which saw a massive 37 per cent drop in crime rates overall from the previous year.

“These brilliant results are testament to the hard work of our officers and partners to crackdown on criminality in the area, so everyone could enjoy the city centre during the festive period, hassle-free.

“Please know that our work is never done – and anyone who comes into Sunderland with the intention of causing trouble or committing crime can expect to be dealt with robustly.

“This type of operation is only possible through fantastic teamwork and dedication from all agencies involved, so I’d like to extend my thanks to them for their continued support.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, said: “We know from our recent residents’ survey, the importance that our residents place on tackling anti-social behaviour.

“Past experience has shown us just how effective joint operations like this can be, the 37 per cent drop in crime rates compared to the same period last year speaks for itself in terms of the operation’s success.

“We’ve continued to build on this partnership approach with the recent launch of the city centre SAIL project (Sunderland Altogether Improving Lives) which brings together the expertise of partner agencies under one roof with the aim of making the city centre a more attractive and safer place to visit.”

Kirstie Currie, Operations Manager at Sunderland BID, said: “It’s fantastic news to see that once again Operation Kraken has had real results and has shown criminals that we simply won’t tolerate anti-social behaviour of any kind at Christmas or any other time of year.

“It’s a positive response to a partnership which continues to go from strength to strength.”

Karen Eve, Centre Director at The Bridges, said: “The Bridges is delighted to once again have played a really active role in ensuring the city centre is a safe and welcoming place to shop in the run-up to Christmas and throughout the year.

“Working with both the Police and the BID shows that we can get really positive results and to see the substantial drop in crime figures is really heartening and confirms that working in partnership can create real results.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “These results from our Neighbourhood Policing Team in Sunderland are a great start to the new year and set out how we mean to go on fighting crime in the area.


“A 37 per cent fall in crime rates is already being hugely welcomed by local people. The arrests and dispersal orders make it clear to would be offenders that Northumbria Police and everyone coming together on this are geared up and ready to take action and keep driving crime down. My thanks go to all involved in these continued efforts to improve lives in the area.”


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