Hundreds of jail years secured in and around Essex in 2019
PUBLISHED: 09:38 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:22 04 February 2020
Almost 500 years of jail sentences were secured with the help of the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) across 2019.
There were also 380 arrests led or supported by the unit, as well as 237 kilograms of Class A drugs and 64 firearms seized. In addition, convicted criminals paid £5.8 million on confiscation orders and more than £1.6 million for victim compensation.
The figures come as officers collaborated with police forces and partner agencies to prevent dangerous offenders operating in Essex and neighbouring counties.
ROCU, which is part of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) deals with serious and organised crime in the east of England. Crimes include modern day slavery, firearms supply, child sexual exploitation, county drugs lines and cybercrime.
Hannah Wilkinson, Head of the ROCU, said: "2019 has been a fantastic year for our unit, less so for the people across the eastern region who seek to cause harm by carrying out serious and organised crime.
"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and officers, a number of organised crime groups have been dismantled, with their members being forced to spend this Christmas and many more behind bars. We've also seized substantial quantities of illicit substances, and helped remove more than 60 dangerous weapons from circulation.
"We've also continued to show that crime doesn't pay, with our economic crime teams working tirelessly to strip convicted criminals of their ill-gotten gains.
"We're looking forward to continuing to protect the public across the eastern region from the threat of serious and organised crime in 2020."
Kathryn Holloway, Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire Police who are the lead force for ERSOU, said: "The results achieved by the regional organised crime unit are something that I, as the Governance lead on behalf of our regions Police and Crime Commissioners, am incredibly proud of. The dedication of each individual team member has contributed to the national reputation ERSOU has for success and has even resulted in them received a world class police award. I know that the unit will continue to build upon their 2019 successes in the year ahead."