Dedicated team of officers track down worst offenders in Gloucestershire
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A dedicated team of police officers have made it their job to track down the worst domestic abuse suspects and arrest them as part of Operation Shield.
The team's vow to find the suspects shows the ongoing commitment of Gloucestershire Constabulary towards tackling Violence, Abuse and Intimidation against Women and Girls in the county.
Since being formed in March this year, the WAPO team (Wanted, Arrestable and Priority Offenders) has arrested 50 people suspected of committing domestic abuse and violence.
The group of six officers, who are formed from the Special Constabulary, have given a total of 2260 duty hours over the last eight months towards locating the suspects.
The officer behind Operation Shield, who cannot be named for operational reasons, came up with the idea of putting together the team to focus on tracking down the wanted people.
He said: “I was aware of the reports of domestic abuse and the need to arrest suspects.
“I noticed that one suspect had been wanted for a number of weeks and I decided to make it my mission to find and arrest him. In the end it took me just a day-and-a-half to locate him.”
Since then, the WAPO team have dedicated themselves to focusing on searching for wanted people.
Their actions are contributing to the Force's commitment to reduce violence and intimidation towards women and girls.
The lead officer said: "Other officers have a range of duties and may be asked to pick up other priorities. As part of the Special Constabulary, we are able to spend time on a single task.
"It means that we are in an ideal position to start tackling the outstanding offenders who need arresting.
"We are having a significant impact by targeting those who are wanted, tracking them down and arresting them so they can be brought into custody."
Operation Shield is already receiving national recognition, with the team recently picking up the Innovation in Policing prize at the South West Region Special Constabulary and Police Support Volunteers Awards.
Since March, the WAPO team has not only made 50 successful arrests, it has also assisted in a further 92 arrests and provided intelligence on numerous other cases.
Chief Inspector Rich Pegler praised the work which the team had been doing to protect the vulnerable.
He said: “The most effective way to protect victims of domestic abuse is by arresting the perpetrators. Operation Shield has done just that.
“To harness the talent and commitment of such a skilled Special Constabulary during a really challenging period for policing has been really positive. This is a great initiative that continues to keep our most vulnerable safe from harm.”