Nearly twice as many burglars are being brought to justice by Avon and Somerset Police thanks to the introduction of Operation Remedy, a six month review reveals.
- Sustained reduction in number of burglary offences
- Drugs-related arrests up by 7%
- 45% increase in the number of knife possession offences
- Officers make four arrests per day
The operation is a coordinated effort across Avon and Somerset to improve force performance in relation to residential burglary, knife crime and the illegal supply of controlled drugs. In the six months since launching, officers have made around four arrests per day (493 total) relating to approximately 1100 offences and 67 warrants.
Continual improvement in reducing residential burglary offences
Positive outcomes for burglary offences have increased from 4.3% in April 2019 to 7.7%. There are 661 fewer burglaries across Avon and Somerset, 9% less than the previous year. This reduction is attributed to an uplift in arrests and more engagement with the public, who are better prepared to secure their homes.
Over the next week, officers will be providing SmartWater home security packs to 500 residents in Worle in North Somerset, to help tackle residential burglary in this area.
SmartWater is an odourless and colourless forensic liquid with a unique chemical code. Once dabbed onto valuables, this technology enables us to easily reunite stolen property to the original owner if recovered.
This innovative, pilot project is just one of a number of proactive initiatives being rolled out across Avon and Somerset as part of Operation Remedy.
Drugs-related arrests up by 7%
Since the start of Operation Remedy, officers have seized an estimated £1.3 million worth of illegal drugs. There has been a 7% increase in the number of drug-related arrests compared to the previous six months from October 2018 to March 2019.
The increase in arrests can be attributed to intensified operational activity including monthly enforcement and warrant days to tackle drug supplies and a higher number of high visibility patrols in problem areas. Targeted communication campaigns have raised awareness of the signs of drug-related activity, helped identify vulnerable people and increased reports of suspicious activity.
A holistic approach to tackling knife crime
There has been a 45% increase in the number of knife possession offences recorded in Avon and Somerset over the past two years, with 204 individual offences recorded between April and August this year. The high volume of arrests during the 2019 period is a result of the additional resources that have been made available as part of Operation Remedy which has also resulted in a number of knives and weapons seized.
Activity to combat knife crime includes 570 intelligence-led stop and searches, multiple knife sweeps and temporary knife arches at train stations including Bath Spa, Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads.
Avon and Somerset Police has been working with partners to ensure early intervention, diversion and support is provided to young people most at risk of being involved in serious violence. A recent example is the Insight programme, which involved working with local schools and Southmead Hospital to give a group of young people the opportunity to see first-hand exactly how far-reaching the impact of knife crime can be. The force is also continuing its partnership with Empire Fighting Chance in Easton in Bristol on a scheme to help young people at risk of going down the wrong path to make better choices and deal with their anger.
Assistant Chief Constable, Steve Cullen, commented: “We are now six months into Operation Remedy and I am delighted to see some tangible results, particularly the sustained reduction in the number of burglary offences.
“We are committed to tackling the crimes that matter most to local people and prosecuting those responsible. Operation Remedy is a truly coordinated effort involving officers and staff from specialisms across the entire force including response, neighbourhood, investigations and intelligence.
“Of course, there is more to be done but I am excited by the progress made so far and hope our efforts reassure the public of our commitment in cracking down on these important issues.”
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said: “I know local people will be pleased with the Operation Remedy outcomes achieved over the last six months and I am especially delighted with the increased number of positive outcomes for burglary offences. It is important that, as well as drugs and knife crime, we address the disruptive crime that is burglary. Many burglary victims have shared with me how upsetting this crime is and it can mean that they live in fear in the place they should feel safest – their own home.
“Increasing the policing part of the council tax in April was a big ask and I hope local people are starting to see and feel the difference that the additional officers have made. There is still plenty more to be done and I know the constabulary will remain focused on tackling the issues that matter most to local people and bringing offenders to justice.”