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Staffordshire recorded the 3rd highest number of lorry load offences in the U.K. during 2001, 9% of Force vehicle crime. The M6 provides a direct corridor through our Force area, which includes a large service area, Nightowl (formerly BP Truckstop), providing an excellent target for potential offenders. Nightowl regularly caters for 180+ parked goods vehicles each night. The site suffered a variety of crimes: thefts from and of vehicles, drive off offences, prostitution, anti- social behavior, and personal thefts from drivers utilizing the services. A combination of traditional policing methods with ‘quick wins’ for the short term approach and in-depth research analysis with long-term problem solving solutions were required and delivered. Full site surveys, and meetings with company architects and management, allowed the crime reduction team to impart their knowledge and experience of solutions available to reduce site crime. Against baseline figures for 2001, crime/incidents for 2003 have fallen by 62% despite reduction work not being fully completed until February 2003. The site gained recognition for its achievements with a Secure Car Park Award in April 2003, the first paying lorry-park to achieve the award.
Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe with 187,000 residents, and over 5 million visitors a year. During 2002/03 vehicle crime across Portsmouth increased by 16%, at a time when there was a downward trend nationally. Following detailed analysis the Operation Cobra Vehicle Crime Strategy was developed with Crime and Disorder partners, to achieve long term problem resolution. Key areas included maximizing forensic potential and intelligence gathering; focused intelligence led action; a three tier Crime Reduction Strategy which placed an unprecedented emphasis on sustainable victim and location work (triggered by a data base monitoring vehicle crime levels in individual streets); and a high profile media campaign. In the first nine months of Operation COBRA there has been a significant reduction in the targeted vehicle crimes, compared with the same period in the preceding year. Overall vehicle crime in Portsmouth has fallen by 31% from 3235 to 2235 vehicle crimes. The principles of Operation COBRA are now being replicated within the BCU to tackle other crime issues and incorporated into the Force’s Vehicle Crime Strategy.
During November 2001 and to an even greater extent in 2002, St Pauls, Bristol experienced wide scale disorder lasting several hours involving large gangs of masked youths using fireworks as missiles. Hundreds of multi-barreled, multi-shot fireworks that are designed to throw projectiles high into the air were fired handheld at short range directly at passers-by, police and fire fighters, as well as into residents’ houses and cars. The problem existed due to an established history of firework related disorder in the area, the fireworks used were legally and easily available, and there were no public order tactics or other approved control measures available to counter the use of fireworks being fired in this way. A multi-agency strategy (Operation Hercules) was devised with residents targeting three areas: legislation, prevention, and enforcement. The project resulted in the passing of the Fireworks Act 2003; positive media coverage supported by the Bristol Evening Post; numerous joint visits to retailers including under age test purchase operations by Trading Standards; 16 arrests for a variety of offences; over £6,000 worth of fireworks seized; and prosecutions pending for retailers selling to juveniles.