A JOINT 'back to basics' crackdown has been launched by police and council bosses after a spate of knifepoint robberies in Bury and public disorder at Radcliffe Metrolink stop.

Knife crime around the borough and persistent flashpoints involving youths at the tram stop have prompted the launch of Operation Saturn.

Police will be working with council community safety officers and Transport for Greater Manchester staff to tackle the issues.

The focus will be on Bury town centre, particularly the interchange, Bury East, Redvales and Moorside areas, according to police.

Chief Supt Chris Hill, of GMP's Bury District, said: "Operation Saturn is about getting back to basics and working with partners and communities in the right place and the right time to really make a difference.

"This is about high visibility and getting officers out onto the streets to listen to what our communities have to say and to help provide that protective and reassuring presence.

"It's also about sending a message to offenders that GMP is here and we will take action wherever it's needed to bring this type of offending right down.

"(The) launch was a really positive step in our commitment to protecting our community and I very much look forward to seeing how this develops and improves over time."

Chief Insp Jamie Collins added: "The feedback from the Bury communities is that they don’t see enough neighbourhood officers policing there areas.

"Operation Saturn is about putting high visibility uniformed officers into the areas of concern and is just one of the positive steps forward in our pledge to prevent and reduce crime, harm and anti-social behaviour.

"This operation goes back to the basics of policing and focuses on the importance of high-visibility patrols on our streets and ensuring we are engaging with members of the community, to both understand their concerns for the area and also offer advice and tips of how best to stay keep safe from harm.

"Our communities expect to see us on foot across the district and in their neighbourhoods and we are committed to making this a normality and making our Borough a safe and welcoming place to live."

And Cllr Richard Gold, the borough's communities cabinet member, said: "We know there have been increasing concerns from residents about anti-social behaviour and it's important that residents feel safe and secure when they're out and about in their own homes.

"This initiative is great because it will help to target those hotspot locations, and with lots of visible officers, will help in the overall fight against anti-social behaviour.

"Seeing more police out on the streets is definitely the way forward and very much helps with community reassurance and I look forward to seeing regular repeat operations of this kind in the area."