Two new teams root out criminality on Suffolk’s roads
Two more teams geared at cracking down on criminals, protecting local communities and tackling cross-border criminality are now operationally active.
Operation Sentinel, initially launched in the south of the county earlier this year, now has a dedicated team for both the west and the east of the county.
The three teams are providing enhanced coverage of Suffolk’s road network to proactively disrupt serious and organised criminal activity as well as increasing police visibility. Each unit has seven officers in each team (a sergeant and six PCs) and the 21-strong unit has been made possible by an increase in police numbers paid for by this year’s precept increase.
The mobile unit disrupts criminals and protect communities across Suffolk’s road network using a variety of techniques to deal with offenders involved in the highest criminal threats proactively, firmly and securing prosecutions.
So far, the team for the south launched on 28 May, has made over 100 arrests, predominantly in the south, for a variety of offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, fraud offences, handling stolen goods, possession of an offensive weapons, possession of articles to commit fraud, attempted robbery, and failing to appear before court.
The Sentinel Team uses innovative technology, supported by the force’s intelligence systems and structures to ensure they are able to intercept and disrupt criminals to make the county a hostile environment for criminals to operate.
The teams have access to the widest range of proactive policing tactics and will use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and mobile fingerprint devices to identify and intercept criminals to frustrate their activities.
In December 2018, the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner published plans for the police element of the precept increase for 2019/20*. This new team accounts for £1.6m of the precept rise and contributes to addressing two main concerns – the increase in violent and drug related crime and improved visibility.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said: "The force has always made clear that the changing nature of crime and its rise in certain areas means Suffolk’s policing model needs to be as flexible, effective and efficient as possible for the communities it serves.
"These two additional teams bolster our current capability to disrupt criminal activity even further. The team for the south has set the bar very high and, over the summer since its launch, has established a great track record of proactivity, reaping great results for the force and our communities overall.
"The two new teams demonstrate Suffolk Constabulary’s commitment to maintaining a pre-emptive approach to policing to prevent criminals causing misery in Suffolk.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "Suffolk is one of the safest counties in the country, but that’s not to say there aren’t challenges ahead and that is why I made the decision to increase the policing element of the council tax by the maximum possible earlier this year.
"This additional funding has enabled the Chief Constable to increase the police establishment to form this proactive Sentinel team to help fight organised crime and so far the results from the south of the county have been very impressive. It is great to see the team extended into the East and West policing areas of the county and I am sure this countywide coverage will pay dividends.
"Operation Sentinel provides the extra officers on our roads that we need. It won’t change everything but this is a major step-change in the fight against crime in our communities and I welcome this pre-emptive approach.”