A new crime-fighting facility is to be created for the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) with the help of £1 million in government funding, bringing several law enforcement agencies together under one roof.
The new Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) premises will provide the police with a new headquarters to base themselves from as they tackle serious and organised crime.
Specialist teams from Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police forces, the National Crime Agency (NCA), and other law enforcement partners will now work under one hub leading the region’s response to a range of threats.
The new facilities will significantly enhance the region’s existing capabilities, as the agencies tackle crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, organised illegal immigration, firearms, high value fraud, cyber crime, child sexual exploitation and terrorism.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said:
Serious and organised crime is corrosive and undermines the very fabric of our society. Families across the North East have been subjected to misery at the hands of criminals who exploit young women and children, trade in illegal drugs and rob the elderly of their life savings.
This new unit will enable the police and partner agencies across the region to build on previous successes and provide a more efficient response to the threat posed by highly sophisticated crime groups that infiltrate our communities and operate by fear and intimidation.
The expertise of specially trained officers within a single hub will also ensure our intelligence picture across the region develops at pace and significantly undermines the efforts of those who pose a threat to our national security.
The new shared ROCU headquarters will enable greater intelligence sharing, a stronger collaboration between the different law enforcement agencies and the ability to take on more complex investigations.
The £1 million investment will also provide the capability for further specialist work that includes surveillance operations, e-forensic investigations, asset confiscation enforcement, fraud and prison intelligence.
And the new space will also enable the ROCU to expand in the future, as additional resources are required to tackle the threats being faced.
Northumbria Chief Constable Steve Ashman said:
We are proud that the North East is being highlighted for the work we do to tackle organised crime and we are delighted to welcome Mr Wallace to our region.
The Home Office funding will be crucial in helping us maintain the Regional Organised Crime Unit and will provide the officers within it a suitable base to continue the excellent work they deliver.
Tackling organised crime is a priority for the region and all 3 forces work together with other agencies to help prevent organised gangs and criminals travelling through our region to commit crime.
There are 9 ROCUs across England and Wales, and the new North East facility will provide a valuable addition to our intelligence capabilities across the UK and for teams working internationally with law enforcement counterparts.
ROCU operational teams are highly trained in their fields of expertise and by using specialist equipment and techniques to pursue criminals they are crucial in the drive to detect, investigate, prosecute and disrupt organised crime groups.