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Norwich police operation will create ‘ring of steel’ around city

PUBLISHED: 07:12 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:14 21 November 2018

In pursuit of a vehicle through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

In pursuit of a vehicle through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

A new hi-tech police operation for Norwich aims to create a “ring of steel” around the city to snare criminal gangs.

Operation Moonshot will see a team of eight officers use the latest technology and intelligence to hunt criminals travelling around Norwich.

The initiative has already seen huge success in West Norfolk, where more than 500 people have been arrested and almost 700 vehicles seized in two years.

Now, Norfolk police has expanded the operation into Norwich following a successful pilot over the summer which saw 105 arrests in just 25 shifts.

Superintendent Terry Lordan said: “This is a proactive unit which in essence is targeting travelling criminals, whether they are linked to organised crime groups or county lines.

A driver was pulled over, arrested and had their vehicle taken away under Operation Moonshot.  Picture: Neil DidsburyA driver was pulled over, arrested and had their vehicle taken away under Operation Moonshot. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“What that will deliver for the city, will be a ring of steel in terms of targeting active criminals intent of committing crime within Norwich.”

The team has access to three cars fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, allowing them to spot vehicles of interest within seconds.

Supt Lordan said pilot shifts in Norwich earlier this year resulted in the arrest of burglars and a registered sex offender.

He said one vehicle stopped by the team was even found to have a number of balaclavas, bats and gloves inside.

Supt Terry Lordan (front, centre) and the Operation Moonshot team. Picture: Neil DidsburySupt Terry Lordan (front, centre) and the Operation Moonshot team. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The eight officers involved in the operation will be free from having to respond to routine calls, allowing them to focus solely on catching criminals.

They will be supported by the roads policing team, and will have access to dog units and drone technology.

Supt Lordan said: “They are mobile working, so they do not have to come back to the stations, they are out and about,”

“They are focused purely on criminals looking to come into the city and come out.”

Operation Moonshot was launched in west Norfolk in April 2016 as a six-month pilot scheme under Norfolk Constabulary’s 2020 restructuring review.

As of May this year, the operation in the west of the county has resulted in more than £1m-worth of items being returned to victims.

More than six-year’s worth of jail time was also handed out by the courts as a result of the operation.

The operation was officially launched in Norwich on Tuesday.

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