Police trained to spot the signs of predatory behaviour will be on duty across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire this festive season as West Mercia Police works with licensed premises to create a safer night out for all.

For the first time plain-clothes police officers, who are specially trained in behavioural detection, will be out and about in towns and city centres across the force area.

The officers will be in pubs and clubs to identify individuals who may be displaying concerning behaviour.

If they spot anyone, they will call on uniform colleagues to intervene to help prevent any criminal offences taking place.

The tactic, funded for by the Safer Streets 5 initiative granted to West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, has been shown to reduce violence against women and girls and aims to create a safer night time economy for all.

This week also sees the launch of the annual Operation Christmas Presence, which sees extra officers on duty to help keep people safe on some of the busiest nights of the year in town and city centres.

With extra people out celebrating in the run up to Christmas, officers are issuing a warning to anyone intent on causing trouble that they will not be welcome on the regionā€™s streets this weekend.

As part of the operation specialist licensing officers have been working with local authorities and licensed premises across the force to ensure the night time economy remains as safe as possible.

Superintendent Edward Hancox, head of prevention at West Mercia Police, said: ā€œFrom previous experience, we know which nights are likely to be the busiest over the festive period and we will have extra officers on duty to help keep people safe.

ā€œMost people can go out, have a few drinks and enjoy themselves without causing any trouble. It is the minority who cause trouble and our message to these people is ā€˜we are looking out for you and we will take action.

ā€œBeing drunk is no defence for becoming involved in violent crime or disorder. When it comes to drinking alcohol, people need take responsibility for their actions and know their limits. Donā€™t get a criminal record and ruin your future prospects through something you do while youā€™re drunk.ā€

PCC John Campion added: ā€œI am committed to ensuring everyone is safe and feels safe in communities across West Mercia, especially during the nighttime economy.

ā€œAt the heart of my Safer West Mercia Plan is a focus on tackling violence against women and girls. I welcome the introduction of trained undercover officers playing a vital and covert role to identify predatory behaviour and ensure perpetrators are taken off our streets.ā€