DI Rob Hall: Impact Team waging war on Peterborough burglars
As I sit down to type my first crime column I hear the rustle of jackets, the clatter of body armour, the bang of the Burglary Squad door and the thud of feet running along the Criminal Investigation Department's (CID) corridor - there's a job on.
It sounds like we may have a burglary in progress and we will make our way as quickly as possible to try and catch them in the act.
Last month (April) saw 20 people arrested or interviewed in connection with burglaries in Peterborough and we had the lowest number of reported dwelling burglaries I have seen for quite some time.
The force has a dedicated team of detectives working on the Burglary Squad. This means that when an offence is reported the first person that should arrive to deal with the investigation will be a detective who specialises in dealing with burglaries.
These detectives visit each scene personally and know the impact burglary can have on a victim. Being a victim of burglary can cause people to feel very vulnerable and can significantly impact their lives.
The force aims to provide the highest level of victim care and support and one of the first things the detectives do when investigating a burglary is put the victim in touch with the Victims’ Hub.
The Burglary Squad Detective Sergeant will review the case. They know the crime patterns for their areas inside and out and will know what is happening where and what links there may be to other crimes and hopefully identify a suspect.
When a suspect is identified, perhaps through forensic evidence they left behind or CCTV footage, things move very quickly. Another team of officers, the Impact Team, work closely with the Burglary Squad to identify and arrest the suspect.
The Impact Team pride themselves on being able to find suspects who would rather not be found and believe me when I say, they are very good at it.
Just this week a burglar who had been identified by the Impact Team from CCTV footage was convicted and is now serving a four year sentence.
However prevention is better than cure and I cannot stress enough how important crime prevention is.
As the warmer weather approaches, we are warning people about the dangers of leaving windows open at night or when you go out. An open window makes it much easier for a burglar to enter your home.
We advise people to lock their homes up when they are out in their garden. It only takes a couple of minutes for somebody to slip into your home and take your wallet, handbag or car keys off your sideboard, while you are out enjoying the sun.
I’d also ask that you report unusual activity in your area and give us any CCTV footage you may have of anything suspicious.
Take the incident I mentioned earlier. The Burglary Squad were attending a call of suspicious activity. It turned out to be a false alarm but had a burglary been in progress they may have caught an offender in the act, due to somebody reporting seeing something suspicious.
We also advise signing up to your local Neighbourhood Watch programme. All these things mean we can work together to reduce burglaries in and around the city.
So, it’s not just our uniformed colleagues who you might see with blue lights and sirens heading to a report of a burglary in progress.
If you see an unmarked police car with its blue lights and sirens driving through Peterborough, it might just be the Burglary Squad on their way to a burglary.
This week’s columnist is Detective Inspector Rob Hall from the Priority Crime Team and Impact Team