POLICE in Barnsley have launched an operation today that will target criminal activity and protect vulnerable people in the town centre.

Operation Duxford will work towards improving links within the community and identifying criminal activity. The intelligence-led operation will start today and will focus on activity within the town centre.

Working in partnership with organisations including the DVLA, immigration and council licensing enforcement officers, police and PCSOs will be taking steps towards increasing engagement in the community through tackling crime in the area to make Barnsley a safer place to live.

Chief Superintendent Tim Innes, Commander for Barnsley, said: “Our aim is to engage with the entire community, in particular people who are vulnerable to exploitation. We will be continuing to work towards identifying those people and providing the best possible support for them.

"Throughout the week we will be offering advice to all members of the public as well as targeting specific areas of criminality, identified through intelligence gathered by the force.

“Our work will include working alongside immigration officers, to identify and protect anyone who may be being exploited through modern slavery, an issue we know is very much underreported across the county.

“As we work to engage and disrupt criminal activity, our officers will also be working alongside the DVLA to target uninsured vehicles and any cars that might be used in criminal activity in Barnsley.

“It’s not all about targeting criminal activity though, our PCSOs will be spending time engaging with members of the public, visiting their homes to listen to their concerns and to issue relevant crime prevention advice.

“We will also be visiting local businesses, along with joint council and police licensing enforcement officers to ensure they have the correct measures in place, and of course, to offer any advice they might need.

“Our aim is not to disrupt daily business for people living and working in Barnsley, but to build trust within the community and encourage people to share their concerns with us.

“We will always listen to concerns from members of the public and I hope this operation shows that we are acting on those concerns to ensure that vulnerable people are protected and that Barnsley is a safe place to live.”