Additional officers to tackle threat of serious and organised crime 

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) has taken on board more officers to target organised crime groups operating in the communities of the South East. 

SEROCU is one of nine regional organised crime units nationally which use a variety of specialist capabilities to gather intelligence. It works closely with police forces and other law enforcement agencies to dismantle the most serious and organised crime networks and then seize the assets of the criminals involved. 

Additional officers are currently joining the specialist teams of SEROCU, as part of the Government’s police uplift programme, which aims to recruit 20,000 new officers by March 2023. 

SEROCU met its target of recruiting 24 additional officers for the year 2021-22, meaning it has been able to increase its investigations teams to target those who commit offences including drug importation, gun crime and modern slavery. 

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Clacey, Head of Intelligence Operations for SEROCU, said: “We have a number of specialist teams which work to target organised crime groups and those who cause immeasurable harm in the South East and, often, much further afield. 

“We disrupt and deter criminals, by working closely in collaboration with police forces and other law enforcement partners. 

“Serious and organised crime leaves in its wake a complex web of criminality affecting those in local communities. County drugs lines and human trafficking often result in associated crimes – burglaries, robberies and exploitation.  

“We’re already benefiting from additional officers bringing a wealth of experience and capability to our teams and this work will continue as we aim to recruit an additional 39 officers this year, allowing us to continue this important work of keeping the communities of the South East safe.” 

In total more than 300 extra police officers have been recruited to specialist organised crime units in the last year.  

Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst, National Police Chiefs Council lead for regional organised crime units (ROCUs), said: “Our ROCUs work to identify, disrupt and dismantle crime groups causing the most harm to our communities.  

“Bringing 345 extra officers into our ROCUs, the Met and City of London Police in the last year shows our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime across the country.  

“We will continue to increase our capacity within these specialist units in the year ahead, as we look to recruit 425 further officers into teams tackling the most serious offenders in every area across England and Wales in 2022/23. 

“Serious and organised crime doesn’t recognise borders. Taking a regional approach is vital to ensure that we get a grip of those involved in serious offending like fraud, selling drugs, weapons and human trafficking, who usually cover vast networks which spread beyond our traditional police force areas. 

“The impact that serious organised crime has on our communities should not be underestimated. From burglary and anti-social behaviour through to knife crime and child sexual abuse: these crimes often have their roots in organised crime, which has a real impact on innocent members of the public right across the country. 

“It’s fantastic to see all these extra resources coming in to boost our fight against this threat and those involved in organised crime should be under no illusion that we are coming after them.” 

The nine ROCUs across England and Wales, along with specialist teams with the Metropolitan and City of London Police, are expected to grow by 725 officers between 2021 and 2023.