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North Yorkshire Police Take Part in Operation Tackling Foreign Gangs

Police car

6:01am 24th March 2014

An annual national campaign to target foreign criminals on roads in England and Wales has been launched by police.

Police officers from Romania, Lithuania and Poland have arrived in the UK to join the campaign, launched today and aimed at catching travelling criminals who use the roads to avoid detection and move around the UK.

Such gangs are thought to be involved in shoplifting, fraud, metal theft and theft from vehicles – such as catalytic converters. These criminals move around the country and are not linked to any individual or established communities.

National policing lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, said:

“The UK roads network is being used by criminals to carry out their misdeeds while avoiding detection.

“Their actions have a terrible impact on the communities they pass through and the businesses they target.

“This operation seeks to disrupt such activity by identifying perpetrators, detaining them and ultimately bringing them to justice. We want to make the UK roads network a hostile place for these criminal gangs and protect the public from the devastation they can cause.”

“We’re working with colleagues from Europe to identify, locate and tackle these gangs and use the best intelligence and resources we have to detect and prevent crime and bring those responsible to justice. In the past we have identified criminals with a long history of offending.

“These types of ‘volume’ offences - shoplifting, fraud, metal theft and theft from vehicles may not appear particularly serious but we know through our dealings that they do have a very damaging effect on businesses.

There are between 15,000 and 30,000 foreign-registered vehicles present on the UK’s roads at any one time.

Under Operation Trivium II, which runs from March 24 to March 28, police will be stopping vehicles of interest and using officers who have travelled from Romania, Lithuania and Poland to carry out roadside checks to establish if the occupants are wanted by police in their home countries.

TISPOL Director Pasi Kemppainen said: "Police officers across Europe are increasingly co-operating to deny criminals the use of the roads. The support of officers from Romania, Poland and Lithuania enables real-time access to intelligence that will maximise the effectiveness of the police during the operation.  

“TISPOL is pleased to facilitate this co-operation, as it is central to the road policing priority of  detecting and deterring criminals. Additionally, it serves to protect European citizens from the distressing consequences of criminal activity."

Officers across England and Wales will be using various means of intelligence, including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), to identify and stop criminal operations.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues across the UK and Europe in a combined effort to target foreign criminals who take advantage of our road network to commit crime. Travelling criminals are a top target for North Yorkshire Police and this nationwide operation will support and enhance our ongoing operations to deprive criminals of the use of our roads and protect our communities from the impact of these crimes.”

The foreign police officers will be based at a central call centre to allow frontline officers to contact them and carry out almost instant checks on drivers and passengers.

Some of the officers will also travel out with UK police and carry out roadside checks themselves.

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