Contact Us

For media enquiries call
020 3276 3803
or 07803 903686 for urgent out of hours enquiries.

You can also email the press office.

Follow us on @policechiefs

Police crackdown on robbers during national week of action in build up to festive season

23 Dec 2022

Police crackdown on robbers during national week of action in build up to festive season: Op Calibre Logo

Operation Calibre, the national police campaign to personal robbery, took place from Saturday 10 December to Saturday 17 December 2022, has seen over 350 arrests made.

Forces across England and Wales took part in the eight-day crackdown on personal robbery saw 385 people arrested, of which 196 were wanted offenders for personal robbery offences.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Personal Robbery, Commander Richard Smith, said:

“Operation Calibre is about cracking down on personal robbery which has devastating impact on victims, leaving them with trauma which can be lasting. Whilst personal robberies are at their lowest levels since 2016, we cannot afford to take it for granted and must continue to target those habitual criminals who can be responsible for a large amount of offending.

“During last week’s operation, we have seen 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.

“Throughout the eight days of action, we targeted our activity in 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 196 of them. We know that offenders of personal robbery are often habitual offenders and will often be responsible for a significant amount of personal robberies.

“Op Calibre highlights the commitment of the police working with the public and partners to prevent personal robbery and saw forces engage with schools and communities to improve education around personal robbery.

“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 call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

The week also focused on education and engagement with members of the public and partners. In total, 427 schools were engaged with and 126 local community events took place which talked about the dangers of personal robbery.

The week saw forces conduct 378 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.