• Drugs worth thousands of pounds on the street have been seized and some of Gloucestershire’s most wanted arrested since the launch of ‘Operation Vanguard’.
  • The recently formed ‘Vanguard’ teams carried out raids in all the county’s six districts. In one operation, a man suspected of carrying-out a knife attack in Cheltenham, was traced and arrested in Torquay.
  • The Constabulary says increased recruitment over the last two years means it can now focus more solving crimes that impact on local communities.
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson says it shows his promise to boost police numbers is paying off.

Newly formed crime fighting teams are having an immediate impact in Gloucestershire, says Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson.

Thousands of pounds in drugs have been seized since the recent launch of Operation Vanguard and some of the county’s most prolific criminals rounded-up and taken into custody.

The PCC’s pledge to recruit more officers has led to the new units combining the best of traditional and robust proactive policing.

Among their successes so far –

  • two men arrested and charged in connection with an overnight ram raid in Lydney in the Forest of Dean
  • a large amount of stolen property in the process of being sold, recovered at a lock-up in Newent and a man arrested
  • a man arrested in connection with a spate of burglaries in Matson
  • a Cheltenham man wanted for six months in connection with stealing a car and running over a pedestrian, arrested, charged and convicted
  • a kilo of cocaine, seized following a warrant at an address in Cheltenham and three men charged with supply of class A drugs
  • £125,000 of cannabis, recovered in Tewkesbury prompting further investigations into the gang behind it
  • a suspected, prolific thief in Stroud, arrested and charged with six offences
  • five people arrested and after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class A drugs in Stroud, resulting in the recovery of between £1000 and £5000 in cocaine each time
  • two people arrested, charged and convicted at court following the theft of a large amount of high value chewing gum from a lorry in Cheltenham, and
  • a man, suspected of carrying out a knife attack in Cheltenham, traced and arrested in Torquay.

“I promised more police officers on our streets to help drive down crime, and I’m very pleased to see that commitment has led to the creation of these excellent, highly specialised teams, that are tackling our more dangerous local criminals”, said Mr. Nelson.

“I’m a huge, huge fan of these Vanguard teams, and I’m very impressed by the results they’ve already secured in just one month.

“These highly experienced officers are focusing on the problems that blight local communities, catching, convicting and disrupting the criminals that are making lives a misery for victims and residents.

“I want them to send a message to residents that we care about the issues in their community, and a message to criminals that you can expect to meet these teams very, very soon”.

The tip of the spear

For Operation Vanguard, Gloucestershire is divided into three policing areas comprising Gloucester and the Forest of Dean; Cotswolds and Stroud; Cheltenham and Tewkesbury. Officers, are skilled in complex drugs and burglary investigations and are supporting local policing teams to solve more of the crimes impacting local communities.

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “Thanks to increased recruitment over the last two years, we’re now in a position to create these local proactive teams and ensure a stronger focus on solving the crimes that impact on local communities.

“We expect these officers to be the teeth of our local policing areas, the tip of the spear. They have a very clear objective and that’s to apprehend and convict criminals.

“We expect the Vanguard teams to be breathing down the necks of those we know cause the most damage and harm in our communities. It is time for burglars, drug dealers and other recidivist criminals to be looking over their shoulders”.