Northumbria Police launch Operation Twilight

Northumbria Police has launched an operation to tackle changing crime trends with the festive period fast approaching.

Now that Bonfire Night has passed police are turning their attention to the crime patterns that emerge over the winter period.

These darker nights pose a different challenge than the summer months and now police have moved to put proportionate plans in place.

Today (Mon) the force has launched Operation Twilight in Central Area Command - to ensure that criminals have nowhere to hide this winter.

Researchers will identify patterns across Newcastle and Gateshead and work with neighbourhood teams to preventative measures in place.

That will involve working with partners to give targeted advice to local businesses as well as deliver talks in schools and universities.

High visibility patrols will be rolled out in specific areas to deal with concerns raised through the analysis of crime pattern.

A week of action will also be taken place in Northumberland and North Tyneside to tackle burglars using the dark nights as cover for their criminal activity.

Chief Inspector Nicola Wearing is leading Operation Twilight and says that vulnerable people can often feel intimidated and scared at this time of year.

She said: "This campaign is not as simple as me saying that burglary will rise in winter or that we will see a spike in anti-social behaviour across the force area.

"Each of our neighbourhoods experience different changes in the types of crime they have to deal with and so Op Twilight is about making sure we can manage that demand.

"In Jesmond, Heaton and Gosforth we see a rise in burglaries among the student communities as they leave their houses empty over the Christmas holidays.

"Newcastle city centre sees a spike in shoplifting as a result of the influx of Christmas shoppers while in Gateshead we do a lot of work with local businesses to safeguard them against opportunist thieves.

"To address these issues we will be trying to ensure we have a high visibility presence in key location in the months leading up to Christmas and in the new year.

“But one thing that affects the whole force area is the fact that these darker nights can often make vulnerable people, such as the elderly, disabled or young children, feel more isolated.

“When they are walking home in the dark and are confronted by large groups of people it can be very intimidating. A big part of Op Twilight will be helping to make those people feel safe and supported.

"If you see us around then please come and speak to us, share your concerns, and we can take positive action to make life as difficult as possible for criminals."

Cllr Nick Kemp, Chair of Safe Newcastle, said: "It is important that we act to help protect vulnerable members of our community.  It's not only about catching criminals but also about raising awareness through education and actually taking the key messages directly to the people that matter....the potential victims.  Christmas is a time for giving and receiving and not about taking so please be vigilant and look out for the welfare of others."

The week of action in Northumberland and North Tyneside will see a number of warrants executed to lock up suspected burglars who have used the darker nights as cover for their criminal activity.

It will run from today (Mon) until this Friday and will also see local neighbourhood officers knocking on doors to give crime prevention advice.

Chief Inspector Craig Metcalfe, Northumbria Police said: "Our advice is simple: keep your valuables and keys out of sight. Don't forget, always lock your door, even if you are in the house, and when you leave a room make sure the window is closed. If you go out make sure your home is secure.

“Would-be thieves are on the lookout for unlocked doors and open windows in a bid to get their hands on your valuables. Police and the public need to do all we can to ensure public safety. Let's not make it easy for them..

"If you see one of our officers on patrol, ask them for advice on how to keep your home safe, they would be more than happy to help."

If you want to report an offence to police then call 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress or 101 in a non-emergency.

You can also report non-emergencies online at or by emailing your local neigbourhood policing team whose details can be found on the website.

Updates around Op Twilight and the burglary Week of Action can be found on our Twitter at @NorthumbriaPol or on the Northumbria Police Facebook page.