National week of action to tackle personal robbery launched

A national operation to crack down on personal robbery has been launched by police forces across England, Wales and Scotland.

Nov 1, 2023
By Paul Jacques

Operation Calibre will target habitual offenders in known hotspot areas to take them off the streets and the transport system.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says there will be focus on the different strands of education, engagement, prevention and enforcement, all of which are important in reducing personal robbery.

A national week of action will be conducted by forces across the country during the month of November.

Last year, the operation saw 385 arrests made by forces, with 427 schools and 126 local community events talking about the dangers of personal robbery taking place.

NPCC lead for personal robbery, Commander Richard Smith, said: “Reducing robbery is a key element in tackling violence. Police officers across the country are working day and night to protect communities and our message to those who think it is OK to commit a robbery and inflict violence in our communities is clear: we will not tolerate this. You will end up facing significant consequences and we will catch you.

“Personal robbery has a devastating impact on victims, leaving them with trauma which can be lasting.

“We know criminals look for easy opportunities, often targeting some of the most vulnerable in society, such as children, with the threats that violence may be used, making robbery particularly traumatic.

“We continue to see this impact and it is why tackling personal robbery remains a national policing priority.”

Commander Smith said forces will target their activity in “known hotspot areas”, increasing visibility and operational activity and arresting those intent on committing crime.

“[We will be] targeting those habitual criminals, who can be responsible for a large amount of offending, and using screening technology to detect weapons which we know are often used during robberies,” he said.

“Those that are found to be carrying a knife or any other weapon, can expect to be arrested and prosecuted.

“However, we know that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. There is a need to deliver a multi-faceted response which is why this week of action sees engagement with charities, schools and many other partners.

“It is through engagement and working with partners that we can deliver long-lasting change and ensure young people can see the effects robbery can have.”

Commander Smith added: “Throughout the week, we will see both an increase in operational policing activity as well as preventative work with schools and clubs, to deliver educational workshops to show young people the impact of robbery and how it effects the future of both the victim and offender.

“This operational activity is in addition to ongoing collaborative work that the NPCC and individual forces are undertaking to design out theft of devices and make robberies less attractive to would be offenders.”

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