Metal thieves targeted by new police squad
A NEW dedicated police taskforce is being launched in Hertfordshire today (Sunday) to target metal theft.
It is a crime which causes widespread disruption and devastates communities.
The taskforce’s focus will be targeting those who steal metal, particularly cross-border criminals who come into Hertfordshire, as well as working more closely with scrap metal dealers to improve processes for accepting scrap metal.
Partnership working will also be key, providing a clear link between the police and organisations like British Telecom, Virgin Media, EDF, Trading Standards, British Transport Police and other police forces.
Formed from existing staff across the force, the new squad will be made up of a detective sergeant, four detective constables, a crime analyst and two road policing officers.
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Leading Operation Devon is Det Chief Insp Liz Hanlon who said: “This new taskforce will provide Hertfordshire with a dedicated team of experienced people whose daily business will be focused on preventing metal theft across the county and catching those profiting from others’ loss. “
The new team will support the existing work carried out by safer neighbourhood teams and other officers and staff. The work will include executing warrants at premises, visiting scrap dealers, gathering intelligence around the crime and working with partners.
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Det Chief Insp Hanlon added: “Metal theft is an increasing issue for the whole country and devastates local communities – from destroying historic buildings and churches, disrupting travel, leaving homes without power or means of communication and costing local businesses thousands of pounds – not to mention the very real risk to people’s lives from exposed live power cables and risk of fire.”
Members of the public can help in the fight against metal thieves by reporting any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhoods to police via the non-emergency number 101, as well as ensuring they lock their sheds securely and lock away any tools and bikes after use. Registering any valuables for free on the online database www.immobilise.com can help to deter thieves and could result in recovered items being returned to the owners if lost or stolen.
For more crime prevention advice, visit www.herts.police.uk and click on ‘Crime Prevention’ under ‘Advice’ in the main menu.