Organised crime groups have been severely affected by a network of specialist uniformed neighbourhood police teams formed just a year ago.
Nottinghamshire Police deployed 11 new Operation Reacher teams in October 2020 – each with a responsibility to proactively target local criminals and build stronger community relationships.
Building on the success of the original Bestwood Reacher team, the additional units have been on the front foot all year – carrying out early morning raids on suspected drug dealers, hunting wanted suspects, taking illegal vehicles off the streets and visibly patrolling in local neighbourhoods.
In their first full year the teams arrested or dealt with 2,026 suspects, seized £619,000 in suspected illicit cash, and made 874 different drug seizures.
They also took 423 weapons and 569 illegal cars off the streets, and also carried out 672 searches at the homes and hiding places of suspected offenders.
Importantly, they have also attended or host 958 different community engagement events, and developed 2,205 community intelligence reports.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “When we secured funding for additional Reacher teams across each of our neighbourhood policing areas, we had a very clear vision in mind – to make life as uncomfortable as possible for criminals and to establish stronger, more trusting links with the public.
“I am delighted to say that, 12 months on, we have been successful in achieving both of these objectives. We’ve seen many hundreds of warrants executed across the county as criminal suspects have come face to face with the police in the early hours of the morning. We have also taken a very considerable number of potentially lethal weapons off the streets and seized large amounts of cash we suspected to have come from the proceeds of crime.
“All in all there has rarely been a worse time to be a drug dealer or other kind of career criminal in Nottinghamshire. All of our neighbourhood public surveys saw drug dealing as a local priority.
“In response we listened, used local intelligence, planned and took sustained action against those who choose to undermine local communities by their criminality. With these additional teams of officers on duty, we have continued to target those who cause most harm by a relentless focus upon individuals and organised criminals groups who have been rocked to their core by this additional attention. And that is exactly what we want – drug dealers and criminals looking over their shoulders and sleeping unsoundly in their beds.
“However, one of the things that has pleased me most about the Operation Reacher initiative is the way these new teams have thrown themselves into community engagement activities – visiting schools, community groups and an array of public events to build stronger relationships and trust. We continue to grow our numbers, recruitment is strong and we are determined to deliver on behalf of the public.
“I look forward to another successful year of Operation Reacher activities and would like to thank every officer who has helped to make this initiative so successful.”
Each operation Reacher team consists of a Sergeant and seven full-time officers. Working under the command of neighbourhood inspectors they have become a vital additional resource within the force.
Sergeant Paul Peatfield is the leader of the Ashfield Operation Reacher Team, which – in addition to its day-to-day policing activities, has also played a central role in the local community – even helping to set up and room a new weekly football initiative with staff from the Nottingham Forest Community Trust.
He said: “Operation Reacher is really what community policing is all about. We have been able not only to listen to and act on residents’ concerns; we have also been able to build much stronger and more trusting relationships with dozens of young people who may otherwise have never had a meaningful conversation with a police officer.
“As a result of the football sessions we have been running our understanding of our young people and their concerns has improved dramatically; the intelligence we get in return has also increased. My team and I really have thoroughly enjoyed the last year of action and are really looking forward to another 12 months of hard work.”