Police launch two specialist teams to crack down on county's organised crime
PUBLISHED: 18:07 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:07 09 October 2019
Suffolk police has launched two new specialist units in the hopes of tackling violent organised crime and increasing police visibility.
The two new Operation Sentinel teams will launch in east and west Suffolk in a bid to disrupt criminals across the county's road network, although their exact whereabouts will remain undisclosed as to not benefit offenders.
Made up of six police constables and one sergeant in each team, the mobile units will have access to the widest range of proactive policing tactics in the force.
This will include use of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system as well as mobile fingerprint devices to identify criminals on the road.
The teams are funded by £1.6million of a £24 Suffolk police precept increase for Band D properties, which police say will help to address their two main concerns - the increase in violent and drug-related crime, and improved visibility.
The third Sentinel team, based in south Suffolk, has made more than 100 arrests since their launch in May, for offences including possession of offensive weapons and possession with intent to supply drugs.
Detective chief superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the team has already "set the bar very high" and has been "reaping great results for the force and our communities overall".
Suffolk police decided not to launch all three teams at once to ensure other policing roles across the county were not diminished.
Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added: "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."
Elsewhere, it has been revealed the force plan to recruit 54 more police officers in the county March 2020 as part of Home Office funding.