New police units target Forest’s worst criminals

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 29th June 2022 6:00 am

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OFFICERS dedicated to going after the worst criminals in the Forest of Dean and Gloucester are making offenders “feel the fear” following a number of arrests in their first month of duty, Gloucestershire Police say.

The force’s new ‘Vanguard’ team arrested a man in the process of selling a large amount of stolen property from a lockup in Newent, the constabulary says, after the concept was introduced in May.

The unit was also responsible for the arrests of two men who were charged in connection with the ram raid at Taylors Jewellers in Lydney.

Three new ‘Vanguard’ units have been recruited in the county to target some of the most prolific wanted people, suspected burglars and drug dealers in their areas.

The force says the teams are skilled in complex drugs and burglary investigations, and will be supporting local policing teams to solve more of the crimes impacting local communities.

More than 20 arrests have been made by the units so far in the county.

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “Thanks to increased recruitment over the last two years, we’re now in a position to create these local proactive teams and ensure a stronger focus on solving the crimes that impact on your local communities.

“We expect these officers to be the teeth of our local policing areas, the tip of the spear. They have a very clear objective and that’s to apprehend and convict criminals.

“We expect the Vanguard teams to be breathing down the necks of those we know cause the most damage and harm in our communities. It is time for burglars, drug dealers and other recidivist criminals to be looking over their shoulders. 

“Each local Superintendent will have the autonomy to direct their team to address the crime types most affecting their communities – that could be burglaries or other acquisitive crime, gang related violence or drugs. We want to have the maximum impact. 

“The proof of this will come through action - we will relay the results to the local community at every opportunity and through every channel and we hope the Vanguard name will become synonymous with policing excellence.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said: “Driving down crime and keeping people safe is the reason I stood to become Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

“I promised more police officers on our streets to help make that vision a reality, and I’m very pleased to see that commitment has led to the creation of these excellent, highly specialised teams, that are tackling our more dangerous local criminals.

“I’m a huge, huge fan of these Vanguard teams, and I’m very impressed by the results they’ve already secured in just one month.

“These highly experienced officers are focusing on the problems that blight local communities, catching, convicting and disrupting the criminals that are making lives a misery for victims and residents.

“I want them to send a message to residents that we care about the issues in their community, and a message to criminals, that you can expect to meet these teams very, very soon.”


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