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Regional organised crime unit

This week’s force focus looks at the work of our regional organised crime unit (ROCU).

The ROCU is part of organisation called the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), which tackles serious and organised crime and the terrorist threat across the eastern region.

We cover Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Kent, with Bedfordshire being the lead force.

The aim of the ROCU is primarily to identify and disrupt organised criminals operating across the eastern region.

We have a number of specialist tactics and cutting edge capabilities to help us achieve this, and we tackle a range of serious and organised crime, from modern day slavery to county drugs lines and cybercrime.

We also work closely alongside forces, as well as national partner agencies, which means the reach and impact our teams can have on these types of crime is huge.

The criminals we deal with are operating at the very top of criminal networks – but their actions can have a huge impact on local communities.

Earlier this year an organised crime group was jailed for almost 100 years, following the largest ever seizure of cocaine in Bedfordshire. They were arrested following a protracted surveillance operation.

In 2018 alone we seized almost 100 kilograms of Class A drugs, as well as more than 60 dangerous firearms.

We also manage economic and cybercrime investigations for five force areas (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk).

Earlier this year 16 people who were part of a Luton based organised crime group were sentenced for running a crash for cash scam – conning insurance companies out of almost £1.2 million.

Our economic teams also work to ensure crime never pays - last year almost £5 million was confiscated by the unit from convicted criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

As with everyone across the unit, they are always looking to maximise the use of new legislation and have been using the new Criminal Finances Act to freeze and seize money held in bank accounts which we believe could be linked to criminal activity.

The work of the ROCU is incredibly varied and we, along with the other nine ROCUs across the country, are at the forefront of tackling some of the most harmful types of crime.

We regularly recruit for both officers and police staff roles as well, so if you think this sounds interesting and want to find out more, please do visit our vacancies page.

Hannah Wilkinson

Head of Regional Organised Crime Unit 

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