Chief Constable and PCC: There’s no safe space for criminals during lockdown

April 29 2020

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said:

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy Marsh.

“While all our minds are focussed on the national health emergency which continues to dominate our way of life, I want to reassure our communities that we’re more determined than ever not to let criminals use this unprecedented situation to their advantage.

“At the Downing Street press briefing on Saturday, Lynne Owens, the Director General of the National Crime Agency, outlined how criminals are adapting to the lockdown measures, but she reassured the public that law enforcement is adapting too. 

“This is very much the case in Avon and Somerset and throughout the lockdown period we’ve continued to proactively target criminals involved in corrosive and harmful offending, including county lines activity, drug-dealing, burglaries and robberies.

“I want to thank all our officers and staff who are working round-the-clock to protect the public and make sure criminals have no space safe to operate in. Their painstaking and tireless work is disrupting and thwarting criminals on a daily basis and we’re making arrests and wherever possible, putting cases before the courts.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said:

“Understandably, local people are concerned about the way criminals are taking advantage of this national health emergency. I want to reassure you that the police are still out there, tackling burglaries, robberies, drug-dealing and much more, to keep us all safe despite the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I have been amazed by the courage shown by our officers on the frontline here in Avon and Somerset, I know that they are doing everything they can to support our local communities and tackle criminals looking to exploit the national health emergency.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our officers and staff who are working incredibly hard to ensure our communities are protected in these unprecedented times. My team and I fully support their dedication in order to keep us safe, while the majority of my team are working remotely, we continue to work together to protect local people.

“As ever, I am in constant dialogue with the Chief Constable to ensure local people are receiving an effective and efficient policing response throughout this emergency situation. I am confident that the police are quickly adapting to this evolving health emergency to ensure local people feel safe and are safe. If you have any concerns that you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to get in contact, details can be found on my website.” 

Examples of proactive policing since the lockdown began:

  • Two officers on a proactive cycle patrol spotted a suspect in a county lines drug-dealing operation in Weston-super-Mare and chased after him. A bag was thrown by the suspect into a rhyne which was recovered and found to have 40 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine, further rocks of crack cocaine, up to £1,000 in cash and two phones. A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of two counts of possession with intent to supply and he’s been released under investigation.
  • A series of burglaries were reported in Peasedown St John, near Bath, between 24 March and 6 April. Operation Remedy officers investigated through tracking stolen vehicles and credit cards and examining CCTV. Some of the burglary offences were classified as “creeper” burglaries, committed while people who were self-isolating were in their homes. Two men have since been jointly charged with 32 offences, including four dwelling and one attempted dwelling burglaries. 
  • Two people have been charged with possession with intent to supply
    crack cocaine and heroin after officers carried out an intelligence-led stop of a vehicle on the A39 at Kilve. A number of arrests were made at the scene and at a property in Minehead. A large quantity of heroin was recovered from a footwell in the car and a further quantity of cocaine was seized, along with cash, phones and paperwork.
  • We’ve been investigating a series of offences which happened last month in Bath – including charity boxes stolen from shops by an offender who threatened staff with a crowbar, as well as burglaries at churches. A man’s been arrested and charged with two robberies and three non-dwelling burglaries.
  • Officers have been investigating bicycle thefts in South Gloucestershire and intelligence gathered led to a man being stopped by patrolling officers on a suspected stolen bike. He made off and was later found in a nearby lock up/garage in Filton. A number of suspected stolen bikes were recovered from the garage. A man has since been charged with one count of burglary which relates to three bikes stolen from a property in the Gloucester Road North area of Bristol on 8 April.