Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Police forces unite in country’s largest rural policing operation

Dozens of police officers and volunteers took part in a major clampdown on rural criminals last week.

Operation Checkpoint is the largest rural policing operation of its kind in the country, and saw Lancashire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, North Yorkshire and Northumbria join forces to target cross-border criminals.

Running from 3.00pm on Wednesday (5th October) to 3.00am on Thursday (6th October), the six forces co-ordinated intelligence-led deployments, static vehicle checkpoints and proactive visits to vulnerable premises.

Intelligence shows that organised crime groups from across the north of England are involved in thefts, burglaries, and handling stolen property, targeting rural areas in particular. These criminals use their extensive knowledge of the road networks across the region in an attempt to avoid detection.

Checkpoint targets, disrupts and deters vehicles suspected of being linked to criminality by deploying officers and volunteers with expert knowledge of their local area, crime patterns, intelligence and road network, and using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.

In Lancashire, it saw officers working alongside volunteers across the whole of Lancashire.

This operation was the eleventh time Checkpoint has been run. It was co-ordinated by North Yorkshire Police, the NPCC’s lead for Rural Crime.

The operation saw 229 vehicles stopped for checks across the Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria areas. 61 vehicle and person searches were carried out, resulting in a number of vehicle seizures, fixed penalty notices and arrests.

In Lancashire, 44 vehicles were stopped and checked. Ten vehicle and person searches were carried out. A fixed penalty notice was issued for possession of cannabis and three vehicles were seized. A stolen car was also recovered in Blackburn.

Lorraine Ellwood, Lancashire Constabulary’s rural policing and wildlife coordinator, said: “This should send a very clear message that we will work with colleagues across the region to take action against any criminals preying on our rural communities.

“74 per cent of Lancashire’s geographical area is classed as rural. We are keen to work with the residents living in these areas to clamp down on criminals wherever they are from, and wherever they are going.”

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