OP FOCUS: Observer joins police on patrol and warrant execution - The Malvern Observer

OP FOCUS: Observer joins police on patrol and warrant execution

Malvern Editorial 9th Jul, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016   0

Operation Focus has seen extra police teams dedicated to Malvern to tackle the emerging threat of overnight break-ins to people’s property.  Observer reporter Carl Jackson accompanied officers to see first hand how two very different aspects of the operation have had the desired impact.

For my first insight into Operation Focus I joined two police officers carrying out an overnight patrol in specific areas of Malvern, which have become burglary hot spots in recent weeks.

On a dark drizzly night any vehicle driving around after 10pm automatically raises suspicions and within minutes our marked police car had pulled someone over.

The vehicle was a classic model which I was told were being targeted recently but on this occasion the car checked out and we were soon on our way.

It literally takes seconds for police to obtain a response over the radio which will confirm whether a vehicle is registered as stolen or not.

We had no specific route on the night although the officers were equipped with a map of the town and a list of areas and roads where intelligence had suggested there may be suspicious activity.

The village of Hanley Swan and Malvern Link’s Jamaica Road were included as was Bluebell Close in Poolbrook where a startled looking man was the second to be stopped on night.

Again, after a polite quizzing from the two officers who explained there had been an increase in burglaries of late, we were off to the next destination down the windy paths of West Malvern.

The night was seemingly devoid of any activity let alone any of a suspicious nature and what becomes obvious before long is how much luck would have to be involved in catching someone breaking into a building.

After all burglars are typically a savvy breed of criminal and of course do not want to be caught. But police are not operating in the vain hope of making a key arrest every night. Focus is about sending a message to would-be and known thieves that police are aware of what they are doing and their eyes are on them.

Insp Steph Brighton, leading Operation Focus, said it is difficult to measure the true impact of increased officer presence. But for now it seems to have worked with burglaries of buildings (mainly sheds and garages) and thefts down by more than 60 per cent in Malvern.

The second part of the operation I was privy to marked a drastic change in pace. At 2.24pm on Thursday (July 3) I was at the heart of Worcester Police Station listening to Det Sgt Dave Knight brief an eight-strong Proactive CID team who were about to execute a search warrant at a home in Moatway, Pound Bank, where intelligence had suggested there may be stolen goods.

Before 3pm our convoy consisting of an unmarked police car, riot van and dog handling unit had converged on the property.

Knocks at the door went unanswered and within moments the team had forced open the door and began making their way through the home.

Officers began searching through drawers and belongings in the bedrooms and making requests over the radio for the serial numbers of potentially stolen items.

Meanwhile four policeman made their way to the back garden where, led by the senses of Murphy the dog, they proceeded to dig holes and look for ‘fresh’ soil where stashed property was believed to be buried.

A short time later the stunned householder returned naturally enquiring ‘what is this about?’

Whilst denying any knowledge of alleged stolen goods at the home, she admitted to having cannabis in her bedroom which earned her a Street Warning – the lowest level of reprimand officers have at their disposal before a formal caution.

Anyone caught in possession again would likely find themselves in a court room before Magistrates.

Despite extensive searches no stolen property was discovered at the premises, but Det Sgt Knight said ‘the message would have got through’ that the eyes of the police were now on the property. Afterwards he added: “We will respond to any reliable information given to us. On this occasion we went with the intention of recovering stolen property.

“Although none was found the issuing of a Street Warning represents a positive result for us and the community.”

After spending half a dozen hours with police seeing how they are successfully tackling burglary, residents can feel assured every effort is being made to convict and deter thieves.

Now it is upto the public to ensure they are taking every step to secure their property and avoid becoming a victim of this devastating crime.

Report any suspicious activity to police on 999 or 101. Alternatively report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

FOCUS - patrol 1 FOCUS cannabis FOCUS - garden FOCUS dog


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