Greater Manchester Police has announced a rebranding of its city centre task force as they bid to tackle major crime in Manchester post-lockdown.
The unit, which is made up of six PCs, is being reshaped as ‘Operation Orion’; building intelligence around high-level offences involving drugs and violence.
Covering the whole of the city centre, the operation pays special focus towards criminal hotspots such as Piccadilly Gardens, Northern Quarter and Back Piccadilly.
So far in 2020, the unit has successfully arrested over 100 offenders in the city – including a warrant which resulted in the recovery of spice manufacturing ingredients with potential street value of £14,300.
Operation Orion has also helped to lock away offenders for a combined total of 21.5 years.
Talking to The Manc about the rebrand, Inspector Jon Shilvock stated:
“I felt that [the unit] needed more of an identity so we could increase the awareness – both internally within the organisation, and externally so members of the public could understand our objectives.
“Op Orion’s focus is on problem-solving in a covert fashion to reduce high-level crime – with ongoing investigations to build intelligence and cases.
“We also push for Criminal Behaviour Orders. If there are people bringing misery to the city, Op Orion will build the intelligence around them to try and secure a CBO – which will ban them from certain areas.
“It’s an ongoing battle to bring the criminals to justice.”
The outbreak of coronavirus has forced many businesses and offices across Manchester to batten down the hatches as they temporarily vacated their premises, and some opportunist criminals seized the initiative to break into empty stores.
However, Operation Orion responded quickly to apprehend the culprits and the number of burglaries has rapidly reduced since March.
“There have been ongoing burglaries overnight of commercial premises, but we have had a significant level of arrests of people found on the premises or tracked down moments later because of proactive policing in the area,” explained Inspector Shilvock.
“With the lockdown, businesses shuttered up and were quite vulnerable, so we ensured there was 24-hour policing in the city.
“Whilst we saw a spike in burglaries at the start, we made several successful arrests, which has meant a lot of the known criminals are now in jail – and we have since seen a significant decrease as a result.
“We arrested several who were known to prey on businesses and these people are now serving custodial sentences; in the end we saw a huge drop.”
Drug offences in the city centre have remained prevalent even in lockdown, but Operation Orion has committed to finding figures at the top of the supply chain as well as those present on the streets.
Inspector Shilvock said: “Drug dealing has still been ongoing but has decreased slightly – you still get people coming into Manchester city centre to buy the drugs because that’s the area they previously bought from and it’s the area they’re familiar with.
“Our aim is to not only deal with the drug dealers but to go as far up as we can; this will reduce the supply in the city and reduce the ripple effects that it has on the economy, residents and the businesses in the area.”
Operation Orion represents a significant move on the part of GMP to lower criminal activity, but Inspector Shilvock has also appealed to the public for help.
“I must reiterate that people need to report everything they can to us,” the officer commented.
“If they report things, we can see a repeated trend or pattern and we can put something in place and Op Orion can counter this behaviour.
“Whether it’s 101 or 999, please call. If you’re worried about giving your name, please go through Crimestoppers where you can remain anonymous.
“With more information from the public, the more we can do.”
Woman who protested alone outside Chanel show labelled ‘a queen’
A woman who staged a lone protest outside the Chanel show in Manchester last week has been inundated with praise from locals.
The woman was positioned on High Street, mere metres from where a-list celebrities and high-fashion models were parading for the fashion giant.
The fact that the exclusive event took place in Manchester has been considered a huge coup for the city, and one which will have had a significant economic impact.
But the woman outside the Chanel show chose the opportunity to highlight the stark contrast between the luxurious fashion show and the harsh reality of many living in poverty in our city.
She held a sign that read: “Over 250,000 children living in poverty in Manchester. Higher than UK average.
“Manchester has one of the highest level of homelessness. 1 in 74 people. 7407 and rising!
“Where have you hidden the homeless Andy??”
Speaking about Chanel, she told photographer Project Certi: “No one was consulted about this. It’s not for the people of Manchester. You can come here if you want a celebrity spot but that’s not for you.
“This sort of thing moves around the world, they’ll have it somewhere weird and wonderful every year, and this is kind of like, capitalising on the working class history of Manchester.
“The poster’s got, ironically, the suffragettes on it, you know, people fighting for rights. They’re using images from the Hacienda, they’re using music of Joy Division and New Order, all of that what made Manchester on the music map all came out working class struggle. It all came during Thatcher and the attack on the working class, which is exactly what we’re seeing now with 12 years of austerity.”
She also highlighted the man who died on the street in the Gay Village on a night where temperatures dropped, and the ‘cr*ppy B&Bs’ that homeless people find themselves housed in.
Speaking of the impact of Chanel on Manchester though, Deputy Leader Luthfur Rahman OBE said: “The impact of the decision by CHANEL to hold its prestigious Métiers d’Art show here in Manchester is something that is already resonating with people around the globe and is going to continue to be felt by the city for quite some time.
“It speaks volumes about the regard in which Manchester is already held across the world, but more importantly it also sends a clear signal to international businesses and the international visitor economy that Manchester is the place to be.
“It’s impossible at this stage to even begin to quantify the economic impact hosting the event has had on the city, or to put a figure on it. The true impact will involve not just the direct spend and income generated within the city over these last few weeks leading up to and during the event, but also the longer-term benefits that will come from the massive boost to Manchester’s profile that CHANEL has given the city, that in turn translates into more visitors coming to see what Manchester has to offer, and more businesses choosing to invest here.
“It has been without doubt quite a moment for Manchester, not least coming as it does off the back of many other significant moments for the city this year, that together place Manchester in absolute pole position on the world’s stage for the years ahead.”
In the comments on Project Certi’s video, one person wrote: “Thank you for giving this woman a platform.”
Another wrote: “Whoever this woman is, she’s a legend. As are you for capturing it.”
Someone else posted: “I have so much respect for this woman, I’d love to meet her and let her know she’s not alone in her feelings towards this.”
One comment said: “She is such a queen, bang on with everything she’s saying.”
Unexpected Manchester city centre street named ‘one of the most polluted’ in the UK
A new fieldwork study has revealed the worst air polluted city centre streets in the UK, and a popular Manchester thoroughfare has been named one of the worst.
Except, it’s really not the street you’d expect it to be.
For some bizarre reason, despite the fact it’s a pedestrianised commercial shopping street in the heart of Manchester city centre, Market Street has been named one of the most polluted streets in the country.
Recordings were taken at high streets in the 25 largest towns and cities in the country over a two-week period, and the results found that 76% are exceeding the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended annual level of air pollution, The Hoot reports.
The study enlisted a planning consultancy to collect samples using an air quality monitoring device at 11am on either a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to ensure as much comparability as possible between the locations.
The study comes after a poll of 2,000 adults found that 36% have concerns over the health of the community due to air pollution, or the health of their family (26%) or themselves (25%).
Speaking on the shocking findings from the new study, Sam Clarke, who is the chief vehicle officer at the sustainable energy business, said: “With millions set to hit the high street this festive period, we wanted to look at the state of the nation’s air quality in the locations people will be doing most of their Christmas shopping.
“It’s shocking to see that so many were above the World Health Organisation’s annual recommendations for air pollution, and that one in 10 shoppers are even planning on foregoing the highstreets altogether due to air quality.”
20 streets in the UK were over the recommended World Health Organisation recommended levels of 5 µg/m3).
The Most-Polluted Streets in the UK
Stoke-On-Trent (Parliament Street) – 11.7
Newcastle (Northumberland Street) – 11.5
Leicester (Gallowtree Gate) – 11.2
Coventry (West Orchards Way) – 11.1
Hull (Jameston Street) – 10.7
Bradford (Broadway) – 10.6
Southampton (Above Bar Street) – 8.8
Nottingham (High Street) – 7.7
Luton (George Street) – 7.6
Manchester (Market Street) – 7.6
Northampton (Abington Street) – 7.3
Birmingham New Street – 7.3
Liverpool (Church Street) – 7.1
Derby (St Peter’s Street) – 6.9
London (Oxford Street) – 6.8
Sheffield (Fargate) – 6.3
Brighton (Western Road) – 5.6
Leeds (Briggate) – 5.3
Portsmouth (Commercial Road) – 5.1
“If we’re to reach the World Health Organisation’s annual target of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5 in our air, collectively we need to change our behaviours,” Sam Clarke added.
“With vehicle emissions being a key contributor, anything we can do to travel more greenly, from walking more to cycling, and including electric vehicles, is a very valuable set forward to improve the air we breathe daily.”