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Criminals bringing weapons and drugs into Nottinghamshire will be targeted by new armed officers

A new roads crime policing team is being created which will include specially trained armed officers in a bid to prevent serious crimes.

The resource to the operational support department will be used predominantly to prevent criminals bringing weapons and drugs into the county as well as keep the area safe.

They will work alongside the force's newly established Operation Reacher teams who operate in each neighbourhood to ensure their specialist skills support local initiatives.

Notts Police. (37863619)
Notts Police. (37863619)

The armed team, headed up by a sergeant, will patrol Nottinghamshire's road network and stop vehicles suspected to be involved in criminality. They will work with surveillance and intelligence teams to proactively target criminality; acting on information provided by the community and developed within local Neighbourhood teams.

They are the first team outside of the armed response unit to be armed with weapons in order to prevent serious crime.

Superintendent Claire Rukas, head of operational support, said: "This is about targeting serious crime before it's got the opportunity to land on our door step and to prevent there from even being a victim in the first place.

“There has not been an increase in crime, weapons or violence and this is nothing for the public to feel alarmed about.”

"We want criminals to know that they won't have anywhere to hide in Nottinghamshire and we will have the right tactics available to seek them out and put a stop to their activities.

"We are delighted to have been granted this extra resource and we are going to be using it to the best of our abilities in order to keep our people even safer."

"Clearly the people behind these offences can be dangerous and it's important that officers are protected and have the right tactics available to them.

"The additional resource will work with the proactive policing teams that have been introduced into communities via Operation Reacher and provide the specialist tactics that are sometimes required to respond to community concerns."

The team is being made available as a result of Operation Uplift which is a national drive to recruit more police officers and from which Supt Rukas successfully bid for a local allocation.

In addition to this, the operational support department is increasing the number of officers who will join the road policing team to promote road safety and provide specialist support to the force by policing the motorways and major roads across the county.

The force has had armed officers for many years who patrol large events and are specially trained in additional tactics with the aim of bringing about a safe resolution.

The new armed divide will operate in a similar manner however have more scope for proactive activity.

They will routinely travel from one end of the county to the other, covering more than 200 miles every day.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Paddy Tipping, said: "The armed officers were needed in case there was a terror attack in the city or county but to also ensure those who carry guns are arrested quickly.

"The government has made extra money available for the past two to three years for more armed response vehicles. They have gone to areas of greatest risk such as London.

"We benefited a bit here but not much. Terrorism is a real and immediate threat.

"I have been arguing for some time we need more armed officers in Nottinghamshire and this is the way we are doing it.

"If there is a terrorist incident it is important to get there quickly.

"There are a number of response vehicles in Nottinghamshire but Nottinghamshire is a big county and it will take them time to get there. Having a greater armed response keeps people safer.

"The focus will also be on (criminals carrying) weapons rather than drugs."

The new officers will be recruited and established throughout the course of the year.

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