Police target crime commutersBy Laura Herbert
April 27, 2012
Police in Wokingham have taken the lead with other forces to crack down on criminals travelling to the area to commit offences.
Officers have launched Operation Outlaw in a bid to catch burglars who have been known to come from as far away as Luton to target homes and businesses in the Wokingham area.
The initiative ran for a week just before Christmas last year and more recently for another week just before Easter.
The operation involved officers conducting high-visibility patrols along main routes such as the A4 and A329.
Inspector Pete Oliphant, deputy commander for Wokingham police, said: “It is predominately burglaries, but there is a range of things as there are different groups involved.
“There is rural crime, as they are coming into the area for non-dwelling burglaries such as farms, outbuildings or small industrial estates in Finchampstead, Arborfield and Farley Hill areas.
“The other group is house break-ins. In the past we have had the series in Earley last year and parts of Woodley where people have been targeting those areas.
“The work has been around working with our colleagues in the Met, Hampshire and Surrey areas to build up intelligence.
“We are just having the odd offence now which is a huge difference to what we were experiencing, but there are still people we need to catch in relation to these.”
He said Slough and Reading suffer from similar problems. Insp Oliphant added: “It is all about intelligence gathering.
“When we get offences we look at the profiles of people who might be potentially involved from our area, but with criminals from outside the area it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
“If it is someone from outside the area who has committed an offence here previously, we have got a good chance, but with people coming into the area for the first time it can be difficult.”
Wokingham police will be working to expand on the partnership work with other forces now the operation has opened up improved lines of communication.