MANAGING Bury's 24/7 economy, protecting vulnerable people and targeting burglaries are the top policing priorities across the north of Bury this year, according to one of the town's top officers.

Inspector Jason Eddison, who oversees the Bury North division, said he also hopes to crackdown on thefts on busy days at Bury Market.

Insp Eddison said the success of Bury town centre as a destination for shoppers, revellers and tourists creates challenges for police, which officers are constantly having to adapt to.

He said: "Bury attracts people from all over the country for the market, and people from all the surrounding towns come to Bury for the night-time economy.

"This presents challenges on resourcing, which we meet, but there is a consequence to that.

"The night-time economy has gone longer and longer, and it is effectively until 6am. There is a two-hour window I suppose, between the clubs shutting and the shops opening, so you could say Bury is a 24/7 town now."

Insp Eddison denied that Bury town centre had a problem with violent crime, but expressed hopes that revellers will realise the effect of drink on their enjoyment of what Bury has to offer.

He said: "I don’t think it is nice to see people intoxicated to the state where they are incapable, where it seems socially acceptable to get completely drunk, as opposed to merrily drunk.

"I would like to see an acceptance that alcohol and its consumption should be a pleasurable activity, not an ambition to become incapable through drink, because the demands on the emergency services are huge."

Another priority for Insp Eddison, originally from Salford, is targeting thieves who take advantage of the bustling Bury Market and engage in "purse dipping".

He admitted it is a tough crime for police to tackle, but said officers are doing all they can to make shoppers aware of the dangers, as well as tasking officers with catching thieves.

Insp Eddison said: "It is very difficult to catch people in the act and most people become aware of it after the event, so we often get people reporting it when they get home, so they consequently don’t know where it has happened.

"We meet the coaches, we distribute the literature, we give them purse bells and we staff the market days especially, and it is subject to an ongoing operation.

"We are doing everything we can in terms of making people aware about the safeguarding they can do, but I don’t want to blame the victim."

Insp Eddison also says he wants to make people aware of the simple things residents can do to make their homes as secure as possible, such as keeping lights on and ensuring doors and windows are secure.

But he warned that police cannot investigate all burglaries, with resources having to be prioritised in terms of need.

He said: "To me, burglary is never a low-level crime, and it always gets dealt with accordingly.

"What we have to be realistic with is that positive lines of enquiry will be pursued, and we will invest police time and resources into catching the offender, but it is a constant evaluation.

"If there are no lines of enquiry, we have to accept that. If you are the victim of that crime, I understand they may say you have not done enough.

"If we had infinite resources we would do a lot more, but we have got to make sure that the resource we have got, we put to the best possible use."

Despite a climate of austerity and cuts in the police, Insp Eddison said he would not complain about staffing levels,

He said: "My job is to police Bury North with the available resources, and I will utilise what resources I have available. Have I got enough? Yes. Would I like more? Absolutely."

One of the areas in which officers devote most of their time is in helping vulnerable people, who may be the victims of domestic abuse, or children who are suffering from sexual exploitation.

He added: "That is where we put our real effort in, because that affects people, people who are being abused, people who are living in fear, and people who need help.

"We are here to help them, whether you ring us, whether you ring through a third party agency, don’t suffer in silence."

Insp Eddison, who has now been in the role for more than a year, described Bury as a "remarkable" town which is going in the right direction.

He added: "I think there is a real determination between the local authority, between ourselves and the third sector to build upon what is a successful place."