POLICE trialling a new initiative say they have mapped Bournemouth’s night-time crime hotspots to patrol more effectively.

Officers are using data and statistics to highlight areas of the town where their presence may help decrease crime rates.

The scheme – Operation Noel – is currently in a month-long trial period.

However, if it is found to be a success, it could be rolled out permanently.

Sergeant Sophie Williams, who is based at Bournemouth Police Station, has recently undertaken an Open University post graduate degree in evidence-based practice through the force.

She said: “Members of the medical profession will study, for example, how to treat a broken leg.

“They will then use that to treat broken legs.

“The aim is to use that type of evidence-based action in the police too.

“Crime isn’t evenly distributed. It can be concentrated in certain areas.

“The time of day is also a factor.”

Police intelligence analysts have identified three hotspots in Bournemouth. The times of day or night when crime is most likely to take place in those locations has also been mapped.

Officers will patrol the three hotspot at different times based on their information.

The results of the operation will be assessed after the final night of the trial, new year's eve.

Detectives are currently keeping the locations of the hotspots under wraps.

Chief Inspector Bryan Duffy said he has high hopes for the future of the initiative.

"The nature of the environment we're working with in Bournemouth should, we hope, make this eminently workable," he said.

"It's a new form of evidence-based policing."

Officers also plan to revive Operation Fireglow during busy periods.

As part of the initiative, police target areas known for anti-social behaviour - such as the Lower Gardens - at peak times, including summer holidays.

Ch Insp Duffy said: "When we've got a public area like the Gardens, it does create a magnet for a lot of different groups of people.

"The bright lights of the BH2 development draws people in too."

He said police are tackling "ringleaders" of anti-social behaviour, which is resulting in a decrease in reports.

"In extreme cases, anti-social behaviour can ruin people's lives," he said.

"We don't want to criminalise people unnecessarily, but we will deal with serious cases."