£1m cash boost to help fight organised crime in North East

A new crime-fighting facility is to be created for the North East Regional Crime Unit with the help of one million pounds in government funding.
A new crime-fighting facility is to be created for the North East Regional Crime Unit with the help of one million pounds in government funding.

A new crime-fighting facility is to be created in the region thanks to £1million in government funding.

The cash will create the facility for the North East Regional Crime Unit which will see several law enforcement agencies brought together under one roof.

The new Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) premises will provide the forces with a new headquarters to base themselves from as they tackle serious and organised crime.

Specialist teams from Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police forces; the National Crime Agency (NCA); and other law enforcement partners, will now work under one hub leading the region’s response to a range of threats.

The new facilities will significantly enhance the region’s existing capabilities, as the agencies tackle crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, organised illegal immigration, firearms, high value fraud, cyber crime, child sexual exploitation and terrorism.

The new shared ROCU HQ enables greater intelligence sharing, a stronger collaboration between the different law enforcement agencies and the ability to take on more complex investigations.

And the new space will also enable the ROCU to expand in the future, as additional resources are required to tackle the threats being faced.

Security Minister, Ben Wallace, said: “Serious and organised crime is corrosive and undermines the very fabric of our society.

"Families across the North East have been subjected to untold misery at the hands of criminals who exploit young women and children, trade in illegal drugs and rob the elderly of their life savings.

“The new unit will enable the police and partner agencies to build on previous successes and provide a more efficient and effective response to the threat posed by highly sophisticated crime groups that infiltrate our communities and operate by fear and intimidation.

“The expertise of specially trained officers within a single hub will also ensure our intelligence picture across the region develops at pace and significantly undermines the efforts of those who pose a threat to our national security.”

Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: "We are proud that the North East is being highlighted for the work we do to tackle organised crime and we are delighted to welcome Mr Wallace to our region.

"The Home Office funding will be crucial in helping us maintain the Regional Organised Crime Unit and will provide the officers within it a suitable base to continue the excellent work they deliver.

"Tackling organised crime is a priority for the region and all three forces work together with other agencies to help prevent organised gangs and criminals travelling through our region to commit crime.

"We have had a number of nationally recognised operations and, with the support of the Home Office funding, this sort of intervention can help keep our region safe.

"I want to commend the officers from Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland for their excellent achievements over the years since the launch of ROCU and long may it continue."

There are nine Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) across England and Wales, and the new North East hub will provide a valuable addition to our intelligence capabilities across the UK and for teams working internationally with law enforcement counterparts.

ROCU operational teams are highly trained in their fields of expertise and by using specialist equipment and techniques to pursue criminals they are crucial in the drive to detect, investigate, prosecute and disrupt serious and organised criminals.