Unit sees organised criminals across region locked up for total of more than 300 years
PUBLISHED: 12:53 07 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:53 07 May 2015
Organised criminals across the region were locked up for a total of more than 300 years in the past 12 months by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
The dedicated unit, led by Bedfordshire chief constable Colette Paul, comprises staff from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk police forces and focuses on tackling organised crime groups.
Crimes investigated by the unit includes child sexual exploitation, human trafficking, drug-trafficking, financial crime, cyber crime, violence and firearms offences.
In the 12 months to April, the unit made 163 arrests resulting in 95 charges and has disrupted a number of organised crime groups. Sentences totalling 319 years were passed at court – bringing the total to 841 since the unit’s inception.
The unit’s cyber unit has made 19 arrests since September and disrupted several crime groups.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Birch, who heads the unit, said: “These statistics show just how effective ERSOU is and the value the unit adds to forces in the region.
“We have specialist teams focusing on identifying and dismantling organised crime groups which are either present in the region or come here with the sole intention of committing crime.
“Many will be trafficking drugs, but they are multi-offending groups often exploiting the vulnerable and the young as a side-product to drug trafficking.
“We are continuing to develop the unit’s capabilities to protect our communities and work with forces across the region to make it a hostile place for criminals to operate.
“Our current high priorities are child sexual exploitation and human trafficking and I would urge anyone with information concerning those who prey on our vulnerable, to let us know. This can be done by contacting your local force but also anonymously through Crimestoppers.”
Anyone with any information about crime should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.