Police target rural crime with new cross-border 40-strong group
Police officers and community support officers from four forces have joined together using technology to help them target gangs who travel across county borders to commit rural and wildlife crime.
The group is the brainchild of Pc Lee Thomas, from the Newport Safer Neighbourhood Team at West Mercia Polic,e and Pc Karl Green, from Staffordshire Police’s Harm Hub and Rural Crime Team based in Stafford.
Pc Thomas said: “For a long time ourselves at Newport and fellow West Mercia officers at Market Drayton have worked closely with Pc Green and his colleagues who covered their side of the Staffordshire border with us, sharing information and intelligence, and helping each other out when it was needed.”
"What Pc Green and I have now done is expand on what we had already established and bring other police officers and PCSO's on board to provide a wider area of coverage and as a result, a wider pool of knowledge and intelligence to draw on.”
The group now consists of more than 40 members, from West Mercia and Staffordshire police forces as well as Cheshire and North Wales Police. It includes members of roads policing teams and dog handlers as well as local neighbourhood teams, making sure that the right resources can be instantly alerted to where they may be needed.
Pc Thomas said that having so many eyes and ears on the region makes it harder for criminal gangs to operate.
“Historically, once someone who had committed a crime in one area had crossed a county border, there was often a delay in information being passed from one force to the next due to other demands on control rooms.
“We are able to bypass that, linking in directly between all participating forces in real time by using not only our police radios, but also the latest mobile technology which enables us to send out instant alerts and share information, pictures and details of suspects, vehicles and stolen items via a secure encrypted system.
“It’s as much about disrupting those involved in rural and wildlife crime as it is bringing them to justice for their actions.
“If we can prevent the crimes happening in the first place, then for us that’s a big win. No crime means no victim and ultimately, that is what we are all trying to achieve.
“The whole idea is based on the premise that criminals don’t respect county borders and it’s vitally important that the police aren’t hindered by them."