A specialist police team has been created to target organised crime gangs who operate on and around Northamptonshire’s borders.
For the first time, specialist cross-border officers will tackle criminals who operate on the fringes of Northamptonshire in the belief that the rural location will help them evade capture.
The pioneering project will see officers from Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire and the British Transport Police work together to make sure criminal activity around the borders of Northamptonshire does not slip through the net.
Superintendent Andy Cox from Northamptonshire Police said: “Parts of east Northamptonshire in particular have, for a number of years, suffered from roaming organised crime gangs who do not see our county borders as boundaries, they see them as an area where they believe they can avoid detection by individual police forces.
“Our new cross border team will work to make sure that is not the case by staging regular operations to target known criminals and using the latest technology to track down criminal activity.
“We believe the cross border team will achieve some excellent results by targeting these roaming gangs.”
Despite crime rates falling nationally, police intelligence shows that criminals still actively target the borders around different counties in the belief that these areas will not be policed as actively as large towns and cities.
To help track down such offenders, officers in the new cross border team will have access to automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to allow them to spot known criminals as they drive into Northamptonshire.
They will also be issued with the latest mobile computer technology, meaning they can stay out on the roads for longer and maintain high visibility patrols on the main routes into and out of the county.
The more joined-up approach to policing Northamptonshire’s borders has been welcomed by senior officials at police forces from across the area.
Chief Inspector Karen Newton from Cambridgeshire Police said: “We’re pleased to be working with colleagues in neighbouring forces to tackle those criminals who operate in the rural areas around the borders of our counties.
“This should send out a strong message that operating in these areas does not keep you out of the reach of the law.”
She was backed by assistant chief constable Phil Kay from Leicestershire Police, who added: “Criminal activity isn’t restricted by borders or contained to one force area, so we welcome this new initiative which has been designed predominantly to tackle rural crime.
“This is an issue that we know impacts disproportionately on rural communities and we’re committed to tackling it in liaison with others.
“We regularly work with neighbouring forces and the new team builds on our existing relationships which have already seen some great successes with arrests being made, vehicles being seized and useful information being shared which has led to the disruption of criminal activity.”