JANUARY 9th saw the launch of a new dedicated taskforce set up to reinforce Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response against metal theft – a crime which causes widespread disruption and devastates communities.

Their focus will be targeting those who steal metal, particularly cross-border criminals who come into Hertfordshire, as well as working more closely with scrap metal dealers to improve processes for accepting scrap metal. Partnership working will also be key, providing a clear link between the police and organisations like British Telecom, Virgin Media, EDF, Trading Standards, British Transport Police and other police forces.

Formed from existing staff across the force, the new squad will be made up of eight people comprising a Detective Sergeant, four Detective Constables, a crime analyst and two Road Policing Officers.

Leading Operation Devon, the force’s initiative against metal theft, Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hanlon said: “This new taskforce will provide Hertfordshire with a dedicated team of experienced people whose daily business will be focused on preventing metal theft across the county and catching those profiting from others’ loss.

The new team will support the existing work carried out by Safer Neighbourhood Teams and other officers and staff under Operation Devon. The work will include executing warrants at premises, visiting scrap dealers, gathering intelligence around the crime and working with partners.

Liz continued: “Metal theft is an increasing issue for the whole country and devastates local communities – from destroying historic buildings and churches, disrupting travel, leaving homes without power or means of communication and costing local businesses thousands of pounds – not to mention the very real risk to people’s lives from exposed live power cables and risk of fire.”

Members of the public can help in the fight against metal thieves by reporting any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhoods to police via the non-emergency number 101, as well as ensuring they lock their sheds securely and lock away any tools and bikes after use. Registering any valuables for FREE on the online database www.immobilise.com

immobilise can help to deter thieves and could help any recovered items be returned to you if lost or stolen.

For more crime prevention advice please visit www.herts.police.uk and click on ‘Crime Prevention’ under ‘Advice’ in the main menu.

Crime Prevention

For more information, please contact Senior Press and PR Officer Emma Cowie on 01707 354581.