OPERATION SURF - IS NO BEACH LIFE FOR CRIMINALS

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REPORT all crimes and we will take action is the message being sent out by a March police officer.

Sgt Martin Monger, Neighbourhood Sergeant for the March sector, was speaking on the day more than 30 uniformed officers as well as numerous plain clothed police flooded the town as part of an on-going operation.

Twenty-one people were arrested as a result of Wednesday’s Operation Surf action day and Sgt Monger said it could be counted a good success.

Operation Surf was launched in October and figures show it has had a major affect on the number of crimes being committed.

Crime levels have fallen by 481 in the March sector between October 7 and January 24 - a drop of almost ten-and-a-half per cent compared to the same period the year before.

That means in real terms there have been 174 less victims of crime such as theft, burglary, and shop lifting.

The action day saw a police presence on all accesses into the town with officers using number plate recognition technology to identify suspect vehicles - action aimed at denying criminals the use of the roads.

“I know it sounds corny but criminals do drive and often they are not insured, they don’t run legitimate vehicles,” said Mr Monger.

“Having check points on all the roads into the town meant the criminals could not go through or round March without having to pass one - and that makes it difficult for them - it is denying them the roads,” said Sgt Monger.

Pc Andrew Harcup-Rudd, who was one of the officers manning a check point on the A141 at Westry said they had stopped around 40 vehicles in three hours and asked a number of drivers to produce their documents at March police station.

In fact traffic officers issued fines to 12 motorists, gave verbal warnings to two, one driver was stopped for driving with no insurance whilst another will be dealt with for driving without a licence.

And one car was seized for being driven with no insurance as a result of the action.

Speeding was tackled with officers deployed at different locations for short periods throughout the day to catch offenders.

PC Phil Richardson and PCSO Claire Stallworthy carried speed checks on Wisbech Road, Burrowmoor Road, Knightsend Road and Wimblington Road.

A half-hour stint in Knightsend Road resulted in two drivers being issued with tickets and another being warned for speeding.

Foot patrols focused on tackling anti-social behaviour, community reassurance and truancy.

Rural communities were also targeted with officers visiting farms and other remote premises.

The high impact day also saw mobile police stations set up and 350 crime prevention leaflets were handed out.

Search warrants were carried out at a number of addresses, with special constables and Police Community Support Officers providing additional numbers.

Sgt Monger said the idea of saturating an area like March with officers for the day showed the public just what the police were capable of.

It acted to give the public reassurance and made criminals wary, making it hard for them to operate.

He said his team mostly live in the March area and want to make a difference to their local community.

Sgt Monger urged people to report crime, even if that means crime figures rise.

“From my view if we know what is happening, and where we can target our resources and hopefully catch those responsible - it is not ground-breaking, it makes sense,” said Sgt Monger, who said there had been 45 arrests in the March area between October 7 and January 24.