Community officers crackdown on crime across the county during week of action
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Knife crime, shoplifting and drug dealing were among the crimes combatted by Bedfordshire Police’s community officers during a national crackdown this week.
The force joined constabularies around the country for the neighbourhood policing week of action.The force’s northern, southern and central community teams are out and about across different communities all year around – with special operations led by community officers this week to coincide with the nationwide operation.
In Luton, officers targeted key locations in Luton town centre as part of Operation Metal, tackling serious criminal activity such as drug dealing, knife crime, anti-social behaviour, shoplifting and violence against women and girls.
So far 69 arrests have been made and over £300,000 worth of cash and drugs seized, along with 19 weapons.
In Leighton Buzzard, community officers have been out and about speaking to residents about the most common concerns around crime in the town. Following an arrest of a man in possession of a weapon near the canal, the team is prioritising weapons sweeps and proactive work to stop drug use and dealing in the town centre.
In Bedford, the neighbourhood policing team targeted the most prolific shoplifters in crime hotspots as part of Operation Belleville, which aims to reduce the impact of anti-social behaviour on the local community, with six arrests made so far.
In rural areas and villages around Central Bedfordshire and north Bedfordshire, the team focused on speaking with women and mothers who may require advice and support on issues such as domestic violence, drink spiking and violence on nights out.
Efforts are being made by the community policing teams to encourage women to open up about any concerns they may have whilst in a safe space.
Superintendent Hob Hoque from Bedfordshire Police said: “It has been a brilliant week of action with some amazing results celebrating the pivotal role that community policing teams play in making Bedfordshire a safe place to live and work.
“Our teams in Bedford, Luton and throughout the rural areas and villages are a credit to Bedfordshire Police thanks to their hard work in addressing all concerns of the public, pin-pointing problems and hot spots for criminal activity and engaging with the community to reassure residents.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye added: “Over the last two years, community policing has become a central area of investment for me as Police and Crime Commissioner in Bedfordshire and teams are working more closely than ever with the local area they’re assigned to.
“Communities want to see officers on the streets. More officers are now doing drop-in sessions and foot patrols and sharing their routes with the public as part of their ‘Street a Week’ initiative.
“And it doesn’t stop there, just recently community officers were part of securing several arrests as part of Operation Belleville, targeting the most prolific shoplifters in Bedfordshire.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without their work in addressing and combatting the crimes that are most frequent, and most important to residents. And that’s just one example.
“I am grateful to the Chief Constable for delivering on our agreed priorities by tasking community police teams with this proactive, targeted enforcement across the three local authorities in Bedfordshire.
“I look forward to seeing many more successful targeted operations delivered by the community teams.”
If you experience anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood, or if you would like to report any suspicious behaviour, contact the policeor call 101. In case of an emergency or if the crime is still in action, call 999.