Police in joint crackdown on burglary as clocks go back

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Police in Sussex, Surrey, Thames Valley and Kent are to work together to target cross-county burglars as the clocks go back.

For the first time, officers from each force will co-ordinate activities during a three-week burglary campaign to catch offenders and educate residents to try to prevent them from becoming victims.

Officers regularly liaise with colleagues across the region about individual offenders or crime gangs but in the past ran operations at different times of the year - opening the possibility that burglars simply switched their attention to homes across the border during the campaigns.

Activities will include both overt and covert action and will be co-ordinated across the region.

Police say the campaign is being run between Monday (October 27) and November 16 because in recent years the region has experienced a rise in reports of burglary in that period.

A combined total of 2,645 burglaries were reported in that period in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Thames Valley in 2012 and 2013 - up 3.5 per cent from the 2,555 burglaries reported in the three weeks prior to those periods.

Detective Chief Inspector Tanya Jones from Sussex Police said: “Burglary is a priority for us because we know what an impact this crime type has on people. The emotional effect of burglary, for many, is often far more devastating than the loss of their belongings.

“This campaign sees us working with our partners, including other police forces, to reduce burglary at a time of year when we know it traditionally increases.

“You can get involved by joining your local Neighbourhood Watch, visiting our website and registering your property on immobilise.com.

“I would also urge anyone who notices people acting suspiciously in their area or vehicles that look out of place to report them. Your information could be what is needed to get a gang of burglars off the streets.

“Together we can, and will, tackle burglary.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has welcomed the campaign.

She said: “Burglars don’t respect borders. That is why I am pleased to see Sussex Police and its neighbouring forces taking this imaginative approach and working more effectively together to help beat burglary.”

Superintendent Jerry Westerman, from Surrey Police, said: “Burglary is a horrible crime to be a victim of, and it’s a priority for the police to tackle. Unfortunately at this time of year, as homes are in darkness earlier, we tend to see an increase in burglaries.

“Registering property on immobilise and promptly reporting any suspicious behaviour will help us catch burglars. Everybody can help protect themselves by using lights on timers and locking things up. Please don’t assume it won’t happen to you - Light it, Lock it, List it!”