A major operation targeting rural crime, involving six police forces across the north of England, resulted in hundreds of vehicles being stopped and checked and a number of arrests.
More than 110 police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables from the North Yorkshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire and Northumbria forces worked alongside almost 100 volunteers for ‘Operation Checkpoint’ yesterday night (Thursday 7 February 2019).
The operation, which is regularly conducted, targets organised crime groups who travel throughout the region committing crime such as theft and burglary, particularly in rural areas.
Throughout the whole of Cumbria, more than 47 vehicles were stopped, this proactive work helps keep the county’s roads safe and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.
In North Cumbria overnight six officers and seven volunteers stopped seven cars as part of the campaign. A vehicle was seized during the operation and the driver was reported for driving without supervision on a provisional licence and driving without insurance. No arrests.
In South Cumbria overnight officers and seven volunteers stopped 20 vehicles covering the areas of the Lancashire border, North Yorkshire and Kirkby Lonsdale. During the operation searches were also carried out on two persons and two vehicles. No arrests.
In West Cumbria four officers throughout the night stopped approximately 20 vehicles during the operation. They carried out a drug wipe, breath test and fit test of persons during the vehicle stop. No arrest.
Those involved include police officers, PCSOs, Special Constabulary officers, and Farmwatch volunteers.
Superintendent Gary Slater, Rural crime Force lead said, “Operation Checkpoint is a very successful collaboration between five police forces in the north west and north east regions.
“Operations such as this are vital in not only disrupting criminals who travel across county borders, but in gaining intelligence by engaging with the rural communities.
“Tackling rural crime and keeping the community safe are priorities for the neighbourhood policing teams in Cumbria, and the successes of this operation are not just down to our officers but also the volunteers who give up their own time to come out thought the evening and do their bit for their community.
“If anyone is interested in volunteering for future operations, or would like some information on the many volunteer opportunities with Cumbria Police, please get in touch via our website.”
Commenting on the results of the Operation, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “We know that rural crime can have a devastating impact on farmers and their businesses and those who live in rural areas. It is absolutely vital therefore that we work together to keep crime away from our rural and farming communities across the county.”
Anyone interested in volunteering or becoming an active member of Farmwatch should contact the Constabulary’s Citizens in Policing department. More: www.citizensinpolicing.net/police-forces/cumbria-constabulary
In North Yorkshire, 60 vehicles were stopped and several searched, resulting in five arrests for burglary, theft and drug driving, along with two other vehicles seized.
Operation Checkpoint first ran in January 2014, and remains the largest operation of its kind in the country. The forces involved share intelligence and information and patrol across force boundaries to target criminals, disrupting their use of the road network in rural areas and bringing anyone found breaking the law to justice.
Police tactics included the widespread use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to locate vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting vehicles seen in suspicious circumstances.
In North Yorkshire, the operation involved officers, PCSOs and Special Constables from the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Rural Taskforce, alongside Mobile Rural Watch volunteers.
Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “As always, Operation Checkpoint sends a clear message to criminals using the road networks to target our rural communities that their illegal activity won’t be tolerated.
“We have excellent working relationships with neighbouring forces, and operations like Checkpoint help us share resources and information to clamp down on criminals, wherever they are from and wherever they are going.
“The support of our volunteers, such as members of Mobile Rural Watch schemes, is also an invaluable part of the operation. With their local knowledge, we were able deploy effectively across hundreds of square miles, directing officers to key points of interest and suspicious activity. Once again, we’re extremely grateful for their efforts.
“Local people can be reassured that we our proactive work will continue to make life extremely difficult for criminals, and protect our rural communities.”
Temporary Inspector Fay Cole, of Cleveland Police, added: “Rural criminals are often organised in what they do and will not only target the rural communities of Cleveland but will travel across our borders. A number of vehicles were stopped and valuable intelligence gained during last night’s operation, which we will build on in partnership with our neighbouring and regional forces.”
In Northumbria, more than 20 local volunteers joined Neighbourhood Officers, Motor Patrols and Special Constables for the operation which focused on issues such as poaching and theft.
Police tactics included the widespread use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to locate vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting those seen in suspicious circumstances.
Officers and volunteers in Northumbria stop-checked 15 vehicles and seven people were issued with summons. A number of items – including tools and lamps – were also seized during the operation.
Superintendent Craig Metcalfe, from Northumbria Police, said: “Operation Checkpoint saw officers out in force across Northumbria and this proactive activity demonstrates that tackling rural crime continues to be high on our agenda.
“By working with our neighbouring forces we are able to strengthen our stance to tackling rural crime and it sends out a clear message to potential offenders that this activity will not be tolerated.
“The response from the public has been positive and it is important that we not only continue to protect people from rural crime but also increase confidence in those communities who feel vulnerable to such offences that action is being taken.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked on this operation, especially those who volunteered their time. The operation would not have been a success without their hard work and dedication.”