Operation Guardian leads to 5,000 arrests

Police officers break down the door of a flat in Barnes Close, Kettering, in 2010
Police officers break down the door of a flat in Barnes Close, Kettering, in 2010

Three years ago Northamptonshire Police launched an ongoing operation aimed at tackling what it termed serious acquisitive crime.

The launch of Operation Guardian in September 2009 was followed by a series of high-profile raids and days of police action.

Officers were keen to send out the message that they were going to crack down on vehicle crime, burglary and robbery by targeting those who commit these types of offences.

A total of 5,528 arrests have been made in relation to serious acquisitive crime over the three years since the operation began.

It has also resulted in a reduction of crime, according to police figures.

Since it began, serious acquisitive crime has reduced by 34 per cent, which equates to 12,852 fewer offences when compared to the previous three years.

A breakdown of these figures shows that vehicle crime has reduced by 38 per cent, which means there have been 9,100 fewer offences.

There have also been 3,085 fewer burglaries of homes – a reduction of 27 per cent – and 687 fewer robberies, or a 25 per cent reduction.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the officer currently leading the operation praised Guardian’s success and the work done by officers during the operation.

Det Chief Supt Simon Blatchly said work was now being carried out on the second phase of Operation Guardian, which is aimed at finding a long-term solution to drug dependency and breaking the cycle of crime.

He also spoke about the force’s new focus – Operation Challenge – which is aimed at tackling violent crime.

He said: “Operation Guardian has had a big impact on the county and crime rates have come down dramatically.

“I think the focus it was given was the right thing to do – it really focused officers’ minds when they were going out and it raised the profile with the public.”

He added: “Operation Guardian is still very much going but the focus for this 12 months is Operation Challenge, as we are trying to reduce violence.

“The work to reduce burglary and car crime is still continuing and we are still focusing on these crimes because they are so important to people.

“Officers are now working on the second stage of Operation Guardian, which focuses on offender management.

“We are trying to maintain that traditional policing approach. But at the same time we are trying this broader offender management approach.

“Burglary and car crime are still there, but officers are also being trained to deal with offender management – we are trying to integrate that and blend it together.”

Det Chief Supt Blatchly said that as part of the offender management approach, criminals can help themselves by volunteering for a ‘buddy tracker’ system which monitors their movements, like an electronic tag, but officers would “come down hard” on anyone not complying.

Det Chief Supt Blatchly spoke about the importance of breaking the cycle of offending through tackling drug dependency and trying to reach those just starting to move into a life of drugs and criminal life.

He spoke about the work of the Rose Project, a multi-agency project aimed at cutting crime by dealing with prolific and priority offenders who have a class A drug dependency, or other issues which lead to their offending.

Police work with the probation service, the prison service, Northamptonshire Drug and Alcohol Service, the Drugs Intervention Programme and other agencies to deal with some of the county’s most active criminals.

He added: “The new crime commissioner will set the priorities , but car crime and burglary will always be priorities because they always have an impact on people’s lives.”

The new crime commissioner for Northamptonshire will be elected on November 15.

They will consider the police budget and decide a police and crime plan for the next three years.