National and regional crime specialists are working closely together to tackle serious and organised crime, in a brand new facility which opened last week.
The North East Regional Crime Prevention Centre is home to a number of organisations which tackle organised crime, including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU). Working together, they provide significant capacity to share intelligence and join-up their activities to address crimes such as child sexual exploitation, human trafficking, modern day slavery, drug-related crimes, cyber-crime and fraud.
Speaking at the launch of the Centre, Dame Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, said “NERSOU has been at the forefront of addressing some of the region’s most harmful crime since its foundation. This is an exciting step forward for Northumbria and one that will allow us to bring even greater focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, added “our police forces now have a unique opportunity to work together with the NCA to share intelligence and jointly tackle cross-regional issues such as child sexual exploitation and cybercrime, for which vulnerable people are often the targets.”
The overall cost of the Centre was funded using £1.6 million from the North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners, £1.5 million from the Home Office, plus a substantial contribution from the NCA.
Speaking for the National Crime Agency, Nikki Holland, Director of Investigations said: “The opening of the North East Crime Regional Crime Prevention Centre will enable partners from multiple law enforcement agencies to collaborate, and effectively share information and resources.
“Working so closely will bolster our response to serious and organised crime in the North East. It will allow us to disrupt criminal activity and bring offenders to justice. This means we are able to safeguard the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We proved the value of this approach recently when a strike day, involving officers from the National Crime Agency, and Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria police forces, led to the arrest of 21 people suspected of working on a trafficking network. This shows the level of continued success we can expect with the North East Crime Regional Crime Prevention Centre.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “Some threats and risks to our safety can only be dealt with by drawing together the best resources and expertise available, both regionally and nationally.
“I’m confident this new centre will become a leading example of collaborative working to tackle some of the region’s most serious crimes and is another welcome addition to the 70-plus collaboration agreements already taking place between services in the North East.
“We welcome the opportunity to engage closely with other criminal justice agencies to offer the public a more joined-up and cost-effective service.”