A new proactive police unit which will help make Sussex a “hostile environment” for dangerous and persistent criminals targeting the county has already made its first arrest on its first day.
The Tactical Enforcement Unit will be dedicated to capturing some of Sussex’s most wanted and prolific offenders, including those involved in serious violence, organised crime and county lines drugs gangs.
The team, made up of officers with specialist skills in proactive policing, will carry out targeted disruption, enforcement and patrol activities wherever it is most needed.
One initial central team made up of eight PCs, a sergeant and led by an inspector, will grow to form three geographically-based enforcement teams, one each based in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, by April 2020.
It carried out its first operation on Monday (16 December) on its first day in action at an address in East Street, Seaford, where 56-year-old Stephen Mcateer, who has been charged with importing 23 kilos of heroin in France was arrested on suspicion of breaching his court conditions. He was later remanded in custody to reappear at City of London Magistrates Court.
Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “We want Sussex to be a hostile environment for criminals and especially those involved in serious violence and targeting vulnerable people across our county, whether through county lines drugs gangs or other organised crime.
“The Tactical Enforcement Unit will be a visible, proactive deterrent to those at the centre of the serious offending, supporting local policing teams in dealing with specific spikes in crimes that impact on the community and it is already making a difference with a successful operation on its first day.
“They will work where the need is greatest and provide public reassurance by being present and proactively disrupting and taking off the streets some of our most prolific criminals.”
The new unit has been established through an uplift in police officers with the force on track to recruit a net gain of 129 officers by March 2021, thanks to a combination of additional precept and Government funding.