Disrupt, Enforce, Protect
A proactive police unit is helping to make Sussex a “hostile environment” for dangerous and persistent criminals targeting the county.
The Tactical Enforcement Unit is dedicated to capturing some of Sussex’s most wanted and prolific offenders, including those involved in serious violence, organised crime and county lines drugs gangs.
The team, made up of officers with specialist skills in proactive policing, is carrying out targeted disruption, enforcement and patrol activities wherever it is most needed. It enhances the work of local policing teams across the force using intelligence provided by community to disrupt the criminal activities of those causing most harm.
It carried out a successful early warrant at an address in Eastbourne on Thursday (30 January) just after 6am striking the front door and arresting a wanted man who had evaded capture for nearly a year after failing to appear at court in February 2019.
The 47-year-old had been charged in connection with a stabbing in Sorrel Drive, Eastbourne in 2018 before disappearing. He is now in custody.
Inspector Dan Hiles who leads the unit said: "The unit is designed to target the capture of some of Sussex’s most dangerous criminals and disrupt serious organised crime.
“There is no officer who enjoys the idea of a criminal evading justice. This unit has been set up to target exactly those people.
"The team were supported by a number of extra officers today to make sure we could safely arrest the suspect and bring him to justice.
“We knew he posed a significant risk to officers as he had previously knocked an officer unconscious.”
Since being launched last month, the team has made dozens of arrests, seized illegal drugs, weapons, cash and helped to safeguard vulnerable people and those at risk of exploitation.
One initial central team made up of eight PCs, a Sergeant and led by an inspector, will grow to form three geographically-based enforcement teams, one each based in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, from July this year.
Watch the team in action here:
Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “We want Sussex to be a hostile environment for criminals and especially those involved in serious violence and targeting vulnerable people across our county, whether through county lines drugs gangs or other organised crime.
“The Tactical Enforcement Unit is a visible, proactive deterrent to those at the centre of the serious offending, supporting local policing teams in dealing with specific spikes in crimes that impact on the community and it is already making a difference.
“They respond to where the public need them most, providing reassurance and disruption across our communities. This unit takes our most prolific criminals off the streets, which makes our neighbourhoods safer."
The new unit has been established through an uplift in police officers with the force on track to recruit a net gain of 129 officers by March 2021, thanks to a combination of additional precept and Government funding.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “On Friday 31 January I take my proposal for a £10 increase in how much Sussex residents pay for policing to the Police and Crime Panel for its approval.
“Chief Constable Giles York tells me that one of his asks from this proposed increase would be to implement a Tactical Enforcement Unit across every division in Sussex. So, it was important that I saw this team in action for myself.
“After witnessing today’s tough enforcement activity, it is clear that Sussex Police have cemented their commitment to be even more proactive and disruptive towards prolific criminals.
“They are all an asset to the Force and, approval permitting, I would welcome an expansion of this team across the entire county.
“Our residents want to feel safe and know that strong action is being taken against those who wish to exploit or endanger them. This team are doing just that. They are a great example of how smarter, tougher policing works and are fast making our county a hostile environment for those seeking to break the law."