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Police team committed to making Suffolk 'a no-go area' for criminals hits 100 arrests

PUBLISHED: 13:01 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 13 September 2019

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore with Operation Sentinel officers Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore with Operation Sentinel officers Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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A newly-launched police team dedicated to making Suffolk 'a hostile environment for criminals' has racked up 100 arrests.

Officers from Suffolk police being briefed ahead of the Operation Sentinel launch Picture: RACHEL EDGEOfficers from Suffolk police being briefed ahead of the Operation Sentinel launch Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Operation Sentinel was launched in May with the aim of disrupting serious and organised criminal activity on Suffolk's road network as well as increasing police visibility.

A total of 105 arrests have been made - from May 28 up to September 12 - for a variety of offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, fraud offences, handling stolen goods, possession of offensive weapons, attempted robbery and failing to appear before court.

The team, comprising of one sergeant and six constables, has been paid for by the police and crime commissioner's decision to raise the council tax precept.

An additional £2 a month increased a Band D precept by £24 in 2019/2020.

Operation Sentinel Picture: RACHEL EDGEOperation Sentinel Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Two more Sentinel teams will start operating the east and west of the county very shortly, police said.

MORE: Proposed police element of council tax rise could pay for more bobbies on the beat

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, Suffolk police's head of crime, said: "To have conducted 100 arrests over a three-month period is a great achievement for the team and a clear demonstration of our determination to prevent criminals causing harm in Suffolk.

"There has been a variety of crimes disrupted as a result, including serious violence and drug trafficking crimes.

"Serious and organised criminals use the road network extensively in order to commit crime.

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"This proactive and flexible team of officers are making progress in making Suffolk a no-go area for those individuals to operate.

"With the additional two teams for the west and east Suffolk starting very shortly, we can expect many more enforcement activities in the coming weeks and months and we will keep our communities informed of the successes we have."

The Sentinel team supports response policing and safer neighbourhood teams and makes use of a wide range of proactive policing tactics and technology including Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and mobile fingerprint devices.

MORE: Meet the new 21-strong new police team set up to target organised crime gangs

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: "I'm sure the good people of Suffolk will join me in thanking the officers on this new Sentinel team for the fantastic results they have achieved in such a short time.

"My decision to increase in the council tax precept has enabled the chief constable to recruit an additional 29 officers, which includes eight officers to be deployed specifically in the Ipswich area.

"These extra police officers are in addition to any we may get through the uplift of policing numbers announced by the prime minister recently.

"We need to remember, Suffolk is one of the safest counties in the country, but that's not to say there aren't challenges ahead.

"I understand the precept increase was unwelcome news for some people, but this will enable us to improve detection rates and make Suffolk a hostile environment for criminals, which is what people want.

"To be proactive, we need to have the resources and Operation Sentinel give us the extra officers on our roads that we need.

"It won't change everything but this is a major step-change in the fight against crime in our communities and I welcome this pre-emptive approach."

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