Police launch ‘Operation Mistletoe’ in bid to crack down on festive bad behaviour

EAT, drink and be merry, but behave yourself - that’s the seasonal message from Essex Police as the county gears up for Christmas.

Major operations are being prepared to curb drink-driving, burglary, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour and they will be launched soon across the county.

A special operation - Operation Mistletoe - has also been set up to provide extra police resources to deal with drunken and anti-social behaviour in town centres and out-of-town leisure sites over the festive period.

The operation, which will focus on Christmas parties, licensed events, promotions and late-night shopping, starts this week and runs through to the New Year.

Chief Supt Simon Williams, who is leading the operation, said: “History has shown that whilst the vast majority of people will go about their enjoyment of the season in a law-abiding way, there will be an element that will drink to excess and or behave in a disorderly manner.

“Operation Mistletoe will involve a number of objectives to ensure that we have sufficient resources available to deal with incidents effectively and efficiently.”

Extra patrols and specialist units will provide high-visibility policing at key times in town centres and other pub and club areas and officers will engage and reassure the public.

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Officers will also be working closely with other agencies to ensure that any revellers who do drink too much, and are considered vulnerable, are given appropriate care.

Ch Supt Williams added: “We want people to enjoy the festive season, but Operation Mistletoe will provide the extra resources to deal with those who drink to excess or pose a problem to themselves and others.

“We will definitely deal positively and quickly with anyone whose drunken or disruptive behaviour could ruin other people’s enjoyment of the Christmas period.”