Specialist Enforcement Unit successfully targeting criminals using the road network
A new Sussex Police unit which was launched to track and catch dangerous and wanted criminals using the county roads network has already made 81 arrests since it was launched two months ago.
The Specialist Enforcement Unit (SEU) carries out disruption and enforcement operations on roads across the Sussex, targeting those involved in serious, organised and violent crime.
The SEU, a mix of highly-trained police officers and detectives is equipped to be a one-stop-shop for road crime – with the ability to identify, intercept and apprehend offenders, as they travel, seize drugs and stolen goods, and to investigate the crimes through to conviction.
In January and February, the unit clocked up more than 3,760 officer hours on visible proactive work across Sussex, made 81 arrests for supply of class A drugs, money laundering, driving offences and tracking down wanted people, seized more than £20,000 worth of cocaine, £7,600 worth of cannabis and more than £4,000 worth of crack cocaine and heroin all well as more than £25,000 cash and taken offensive weapons such as knives, hammers, catapults and CS spray off the streets.
They have also disrupted a number of active county lines drug supply groups, seized 41 vehicles, submitted 200 intelligence reports and safeguarded 18 vulnerable people working alongside colleagues from the force Road Policing Unit, Community Investigation Teams, Border Force, Kent, Surrey and the Metropolitan police teams.
The unit is the latest in a series of police enforcement teams to be launched across Sussex in the past year funded by the Government’s Uplift programme and local precept investment.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “The launch of the Specialist Enforcement Unit was all about providing extra, visible and robust policing on Sussex’s roads, with the ability to deter, detect and disrupt those intent on travelling to commit crime.
“They use both marked and unmarked vehicles and are equipped with the latest technology to identify and intercept known offenders, target hot spots, and support colleagues in making the roads safer for everyone – one of our key priorities.
"I am incredibly proud of the positive results the unit has achieved so far. They were charged with relentlessly pursuing and catching some of our most dangerous and prolific criminals by denying them use of the roads and they are fulfilling that aim.
“From drugs and violent crime, to people trafficking, child exploitation and theft, most criminals have to use the roads which are therefore prime hunting ground for the police."
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “This team has made a huge impact in such a short space of time and I know that residents will be delighted with the results so far.
“Through extra investments in the force over the last year, Sussex Police have been able to step up targeted operations against serious and violent criminals and seeing them being stopped on our roads by Sussex police officers is a powerful deterrent.
“It will be reassuring to local communities to see high profile interceptions and arrests as the Chief Constable and her team continue to crackdown on all criminality.”
The team is made up of experienced police officers and detectives with a blend of specialist skills and who can use a range of tactics to tackle criminals using the road network, including advanced driving skills and the use of a police dog unit to track offenders and search vehicles.