Officers launch ‘day of action’ in rural crime crackdown

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AN OPERATION to stop travelling criminals in North Yorkshire has made more than 500 arrests and searched more than 6,000 vehicles in its first year, it has been revealed.

North Yorkshire Police’s Operation Hawk aims to deter criminals from targeting rural areas and to increase police presence in the county’s road network.

A day of action to mark the anniversary of the crackdown took place on Thursday with officers deployed into Scarborough , Ryedale, Hambleton and Richmondshire.

A series of high profile patrols saw 15 vehicles searched, two of which were seized.

The day of action resulted in 18 arrests for offences including assault, theft, burglary, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis.

Others were arrested for breach of bail, breaching court orders and a man wanted for recall to prison.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said: “Operation Hawk has proved to be a great success so far, which is not only backed up by the number of arrests that we have made but by the invaluable intelligence we have gained about the activities of criminals operating in North Yorkshire.

“Thanks to targeted patrols in the right areas, our use of automatic number plate recognition technology and information received from our communities, we can build up a picture of who is coming and going and what they are doing. This allows us to target the right areas and ensure we are ready and waiting for people who are intent on committing crime in North Yorkshire.”

North Yorkshire Police have vowed to keep the heat on travelling criminals as Operation Hawk enters its second year.

Since the operation began in the summer of 2013, officers have made over 500 arrests and stopped and searched over 6,000 vehicles as they seek to protect the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York from the threat of rural crime and offenders from neighbouring counties targeting the area.

Operation Hawk was set up to protect North Yorkshire’s borders, provide a visible presence to deter criminals in rural areas, and patrol the extensive road network to ensure that offenders find it as difficult as possible to get in or out of the county undetected.

On Thursday 25 September 2014, officers from across the force were deployed into Scarborough and Ryedale and Hambleton and Richmondshire to take part in a ‘day of action’ to mark the anniversary of Operation Hawk.

A number of enforcement and educational activities were undertaken including search warrants to locate wanted people, roads policing operations and engagement with local people across the districts to offer crime prevention advice and explain how residents can help officers make Operation Hawk a continued success.

Two media vans carrying large video screens travelled around Scarborough and Ryedale and Hambleton and Richmondshire displaying images of wanted people and crime prevention messages.

Day of action results

During the day of action officers:

· Arrested 18 people for offences including assault, theft, burglary, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis. Others were arrested for breach of bail, breaching court orders and a man wanted for recall to prison

· Searched 13 people

· Searched 15 vehicles

· Seized 2 vehicles

· Issued a fixed penalty notice for a vehicle with no insurance

· Seized a quantity of cannabis

· Carried out high visibility patrols and spoke with 235 members of the public who welcomed the engagement, telling officers that it was nice to see officers walking around. Numerous visitors to the area from outside the county commended on how safe the area feels, which is why they regularly visit North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police’s Road Crime Team, Roads Policing Group, Firearms Support Team and local neighbourhood officers were out in force over night between 24 September and 25 September 2014 in the lead-up to the day of action. They:

Stopped 74 vehicles

Three people were arrested. A 44-year-old man and 43-year-old woman from Malton were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug on the A64 near Malton. An 18-year-old man has been charged with driving offences and is due to appear at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court after taking a car from an address in Scarborough.

Carried out 11 Pace searches

Four vehicles were seized. Two for having no insurance, one stolen vehicle and a vehicle which had been used to commit crimes

Issued seven fixed penalty notices for motoring offences.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Operation Hawk has proved to be a great success so far, which is not only backed up by the number of arrests that we have made but by the invaluable intelligence we have gained about the activities of criminals operating in North Yorkshire.

“Thanks to targeted patrols in the right areas, our use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology and information received from our communities, we can build up a picture of who is coming and going and what they are doing. This allows us to target the right areas and ensure we are ready and waiting for people who are intent on committing crime in North Yorkshire.”

ACC Kennedy added: “A major part of the latest day of action was to raise the profile of Operation Hawk amongst our communities. It can’t be stressed enough how valuable their information is. They have the local knowledge, they are our eyes and ears in rural and isolated locations, they know if something is unusual or out of place.

“We have already received a great deal of invaluable information from the community but I urge them to keep reporting information and help us to keep them safe.

“Criminals thinking of coming to North Yorkshire need to know that Operation Hawk will continue. We know who you are and if you come here to prey on our communities, we will arrest you even if it means crossing the border to knock on your door.”

The Road Crime Team

Integral to the continued success of Operation Hawk is the Road Crime Team, which was launched in August 2013 to support the initiative.

The team of eight officers and a sergeant supports Operation Hawk and specifically targets travelling criminals.

In the first 12 months of operation, officers from the team have:

Arrested 273 suspects

Searched 464 vehicles and 782 people

Recovered £2,321,345 worth of stolen property

Seized 66 vehicles and recovered 23 stolen vehicles, with a combined value of £434,822

Seized £1,218,237 worth of drugs

Issued 49 penalty notices for disorder

ACC Kennedy said: “The Road Crime Team has played a big role in Operation Hawk and has been a real presence on the highways around the county.

“They have done a great job patrolling the borders and have made some fantastic arrests of criminals as the enter the county or as they try to leave.

“Word is getting around amongst the criminal fraternity about Operation Hawk and they know that the Road Crime Team will be waiting for them if they come here.”