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‘An outstanding success’ - 500 arrests in fight against organised crime

PUBLISHED: 16:07 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 01 September 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 500 arrests since launching a year ago.

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

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 last 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 506 arrests.

These 506 arrests – from May 28, 2019 to August 30, 2020 – have been made for a variety of offences including possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to supply class A drugs, money laundering, fraud, burglary, robbery and going equipped.

With the teams protecting communities and tackling cross-border criminality, they support the force’s response policing and Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

The teams use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and mobile fingerprint devices to identify and intercept criminals.

With each unit initially having seven officers – a sergeant and six PCs – the three teams were bolstered earlier this year as four additional police staff investigators were introduced to work alongside the Sentinel teams, funded by a precept rise in the Police and Crime Commissioner council tax.

Suffolk Constabulary head of crime, Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger, said: “Since their phased introduction during last year the Sentinel teams across the county have been an outstanding success for the force and the communities they serve.

“It’s been a challenging time over the past few months in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Sentinel teams have overcome this and remained on the front foot throughout, tackling the fluid nature of organised and serious crime gangs, such as dealing in class A drugs as well as cross-border criminality.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “These latest results from the three Sentinel teams are simply outstanding.

“I’m particularly pleased so many dangerous criminals, who do so much harm in the county, have been caught red-handed and prosecuted.

“This investment by the public provides a real boost to the Constabulary and its fight against crime.”


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