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‘A major step change’: 200 arrests made in fight against organised crime

PUBLISHED: 09:20 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 29 January 2020

Checking insurance details of a driver who was stopped by the Operation Sentinel team in Lowestoft. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Checking insurance details of a driver who was stopped by the Operation Sentinel team in Lowestoft. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A policing team that is targeting serious and organised criminal activity has now made 200 arrests and stopped more than 1,000 vehicles since launching almost eight months ago.

The Operation Sentinel logo. Picture: Suffolk ConstabularyThe Operation Sentinel logo. Picture: Suffolk Constabulary

Operation Sentinel was launched in the south Suffolk area in May last year, with dedicated teams launched in the west and the east of the county in October.

With the three teams providing an enhanced coverage of Suffolk's road network as they crack down on criminals and "proactively disrupt serious and organised criminal activity," according to Suffolk Constabulary, they have now made 200 arrests.

On board with the Operational Sentinel team from Suffolk Police as they scour the area looking for vehicles involved in criminal activity. Picture: Neil DidsburyOn board with the Operational Sentinel team from Suffolk Police as they scour the area looking for vehicles involved in criminal activity. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The 200 arrests - from May 29 to January 22 - have been made for a variety of offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, fraud offences, handling stolen goods, possession of offensive weapons, attempted robbery and failing to appear before court.

And in the space of almost eight months, 1,081 vehicles have also been stopped by the Sentinel teams with 139 drug seizures also being made.

With the teams protecting communities and tackling cross-border criminality, each unit has seven officers - a sergeant and six PCs.

The 21-strong mobile unit uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and mobile fingerprint devices to identify and intercept criminals.

Suffolk Constabulary Head of Crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said: "To see so many arrests over the past eight months or so demonstrates our ongoing commitment to maintain proactive policing to prevent criminals causing misery in Suffolk.

"Adopting a 'front-foot' approach allows us to keep building our constantly evolving intelligence picture and respond intelligently by positioning resources appropriately - we are determined to identify and bring such offenders to justice."

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "To hit the 200 arrest mark is great news.

"We were confident that this proactive approach, supported by appropriate technology, would pay dividends and these results show the Constabulary is definitely on the front-foot when it comes to cracking down on organised criminal activity.

"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."


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