OVER 200 vehicles have been stopped and two seized in an international crime deterrence operation tackling human trafficking, money laundering and fraud in Gloucestershire.
Gloucestershire Constabulary and its Tri-Force partners from Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset Forces have achieved significant results in cracking down on the crimes that have a widespread negative effect. Working with international officers for Eastern Europe, Operation ‘Trivium 3’ was aimed at investigating people on suspicion of a range of offences as part of a five day campaign to tackle foreign criminals operating in this country.
In the Tri-Force area, some 280 people were spoken to and three were arrested.Almost 250 vehicles were stopped and two seized in the Tri-Force region during the joint operation, in which Gloucestershire Police among officers from across the country and Eastern Europe took part in.
The operation specifically targeted travelling criminals using the road network to avoid detection and transit around the country using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) checks on foreign-plated vehicles. The cameras can immediately tell police which cars were linked to criminality or uninsured, with Gloucestershire stopping nearly 20 vehicles as a result of ANPR ‘hits’.
The Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Forces’ efforts on the M4/M5 resulted in 202 offences being dealt with, £23,000 fines administered, 36 vehicles prohibited, and invaluable intelligence gained.British partner agencies that helped maximise results included the National Crime Agency, Home Office Immigration, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Gangmaster Licencing Agency and Driving Vehicle Licencing Agency.Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is the national lead for roads policing, said the criminal activity had a damaging impact on communities and businesses that are targeted.
“We want to prevent the public from the misery they cause and build on the intelligence we already have,” she said.
“These criminal gangs must use our roads to carry out their illegal activity, so by targeting them in this way we are aiming to develop a robust system to tackle the issue in the future.”
Many of these criminals use the road network to travel from area to area in an attempt to avoid detection and there are an estimated 3,600 international Organised Crime Groups active in the EU.
Chief Inspector Yannis Georgiou of Tri-Force, said the operation had proved “enormously successful”.
“The operation proved that foreign nationals who commit crime in UK, and who use our road network to facilitate that criminality, are not untouchable – operations like this prove that borders are no barrier to justice,” he said.
“In the past we’ve arrested people for crimes ranging from motoring offences to human trafficking, money laundering, GBH and fraud, as well as motoring offences like driving with no insurance or licence.
“But I should stress that we were targeting criminals, not the communities these offenders hail from. There are thousands of law abiding residents here from Eastern Europe who have integrated well.”
Source: Gloucester Citizen