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More than 120 arrests and 50 charged – here’s what we’re doing to tackle vehicle theft

Protecting people’s belongings and dealing with vehicle thieves is one of our main priorities in Staffordshire, and that’s why we’ve arrested more than 120 suspects and charged more than 50 with offences.

We launched our vehicle theft initiative back in June 2022. It has seen specialist officers from all ten local policing teams proactively targeting thieves across the county.

Alongside the arrests and charges, we found £250,000-worth of stolen vehicles in a suspected chop shop in Stafford, rolled out faraday pouches to people with keyless vehicles and SmartWater tech in hotspot areas and have been patrolling our roads on a 24/7 basis.

We’re working hard to make Staffordshire an increasingly difficult place for vehicle thieves to offend. Officers are tracking those responsible with ANPR technology, using covert tactics to catch criminals red handed and pursuing stolen vehicles with police helicopters, drones and dogs.

We’ve been working closely with neighbouring forces, colleagues in the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) and the road policing unit (RPU) to proactively patrol our roads, share intelligence and go after those responsible. We’ve seen lots of offenders travelling from the West Midlands into Staffordshire to try and target cars and vans in the area. We’re regularly joining up with West Midlands Police to pursue these criminals, no matter where they go.

Alongside the enforcement we’ve been doing, we’ve also been speaking to people about the steps they can take to protect their vehicles. In the winter period, we’ve seen lots of people leaving their vehicles unattended whilst they are defrosting, as well as some delivery drivers leaving their vehicles running whilst taking goods to people’s doors.

We’re keen to continue intervening before a theft actually happens by helping people take extra steps to protect their belongings.

Recently, we’ve worked hard to bring down the number of reported vehicle thefts across the county. We know there’s much more to be done, but we’re continuing to build on this. We want Staffordshire to be a hostile place for criminals, especially those who seek to steal from people and businesses.

Vehicle theft offences fell by three per cent in 2023 when compared to the previous year. October 2023 saw 26 per cent less reports when compared to 2022, as well as an 18 per cent reduction in November and a 32 per cent reduction in December.

We’ve also been targeting the offenders who break into homes and steal car keys from inside. Since July last year (2023), we’ve arrested 22 car-key burglary suspects, charged 10 and released a further 11 people under investigation.

Detective Inspector David Rowlands, who oversees Op Bormus, said: “We don’t underestimate the profound impact that vehicle theft can have on people, businesses and livelihoods.

“The only way we’re going to continue making progress in this area is by being proactive. We want to identify more of the individuals and organised groups taking vehicles and target them robustly.

“Anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously or thinks their vehicle is being targeted by thieves is encouraged to report it to us as soon as they can. We’re going to target them, follow them and take the appropriate action to bring them to justice.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Ben Adams said: “I welcome Staffordshire Police’s focus on tackling vehicle theft proactively, both in conjunction with other forces and through the work of the Operation Bormus team.

“I know vehicle crime is a major cause of concern for many of our communities – having your car stolen can cause significant disruption for individuals, while for smaller businesses, the loss of a van full of tools can directly impact on people’s livelihoods.

“We can all play a part in helping to drive down vehicle crime, whether that’s taking a few simple steps to protect our own vehicles or reporting any concerns about suspicious activity.”

You can report suspicious activity by calling 101 or messaging us using Live Chat on our website. Or, if you want to stay anonymous, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For important advice on how you can protect cars, vans and motorbikes from thieves, visit our website here: Preventing car and vehicle theft | Crime Prevention | Staffordshire Police


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