Over 400 robbers arrested during national crackdown
Operation Calibre saw over 180 wanted robbery offenders arrested during the month.
30 forces across England and Wales took part in the week of action at different times in November which saw 428 people arrested, of which 181 were wanted offenders for personal robbery offences.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Personal Robbery, Commander Richard Smith, said:
“Personal robbery has a devastating impact on victims, leaving them with trauma which can be lasting. This is one of the reasons why Operation Calibre targets activity of those habitual criminals who can be responsible for a large amount of offending. They look for easy opportunities, often targeting some of the most vulnerable in society, such as children, with threats that violence may be used, making robbery particularly traumatic.
“Last month we saw a significant number of arrests made and sent a clear message to offenders that we will target you and stop you from preying on vulnerable members of our society. My message is clear, we will not stop targeting robbery offenders and will continue to develop our activity in order to bring them to justice.
“During Operation Calibre, police forces targeted their activity in over 1250 known hotspot areas, increasing our visibility and operational activity and arresting those intent on committing crime. As part of this, we specifically targeted offenders wanted for personal robbery and arrested 181 of them.
“Targeting those habitual criminals, who can be responsible for a large amount of offending, by using retrospective facial recognition; conducting test purchase operations against knife retailers to reduce the likelihood of knife-enabled robberies; stop and search and targeting of robbery offenders who also commit domestic violence, are all vital in reducing overall harm.
“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 Operation Calibre sees police engaging with charities, schools, partners and communities to improve education around personal robbery.
“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.
“With the festive season now upon us, there are several tips you can do to reduce the chances of you becoming a victim, included below. I encourage everyone to follow these and share them with family and friends. If in the unfortunate circumstances you are a victim of robbery, report it to the police or contact Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org).”
During November, police forces also focused on education and engagement with members of the public and partners. In total, 321 schools were engaged with and 1154 local community events took place which talked about the dangers of personal robbery.
Forces conduct 425 prevention activities including safer shopping initiatives, robbery workshops, advice to victims, additional police presence in hotspot robbery locations and pop up stalls in town centres.
Personal Robbery Safety Tips
Anyone can become a victim of robbery, make sure you do all you can to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
You are less likely to be targeted if you look confident. Move with purpose and try to be aware of your surroundings.
Plan your route and think about what to take with you, especially if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before. Keep to busy, well-lit streets, walkways and paths which are more likely to be covered by CCTV. Only take licensed taxis or minicabs booked by phone or a mobile phone app.
Keep your mobile phone and valuables out of sight. If you’re using your phone it’s more likely to be snatched from your hand as you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, so look around you.
And never leave a mobile, any other device, wallet or purse on the table of an outdoor café, pub or restaurant. Same goes for any jewellery you might be wearing – keep it covered when walking down the street.
It’s a good idea to scan the area around ATMs before you use them. Be aware of anyone standing close by and always check the machine to see if it’s been tampered with before you use it.
Things to look out for are devices attached to the machine – some are more obvious than others. If you do see something suspicious contact the police and the bank.
Remember, if it doesn’t look or feel right then steer clear and, if possible, go inside the bank where it will be safer. And always keep a regular check on your transactions.
We know it’s not always easy, but try to be aware of anyone near you when you’re at an ATM. Being aware of your surroundings and not being distracted makes it harder for people to take advantage and less likely that they’ll try to.
Thieves will watch as you key in your PIN or distract you while you’re withdrawing cash. Be vigilant. Cover your PIN and keep an eye on your card at all times. If someone taps you on the shoulder or tries to speak to you, just ignore them.
When you've left the ATM, put your card away immediately.
You should also be careful with contactless cards. You can get a card holder to prevent your card details being inadvertently read.
Finally – and this is so important to remember – if you’re threatened with violence, don’t risk your personal safety. Property can be replaced, you can’t.