New specialist police unit will target agricultural machinery theft


01 July 2021
New specialist police unit will target agricultural machinery theft

A NEW specialist police unit has been set up to target theft of agricultural and construction plant machinery.

The dedicated Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) specialist police unit will be managed and operated within Opal, which is the national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime (SOAC) across the UK.

The ‘foundation’ launch of ACE took place in April, when it was introduced to police forces nationwide, key partners and collaborating trade associations. The key message was that cross industry cooperation is crucial for the success of the new unit. The ACE team is to support the wider problem-solving approach through partnership – ‘prevention is better than the cure’.

There is a focus on offences committed by organised crime groups which are part of a series and involve cross border offending. By developing proactive working relationships with law enforcement, partner and business agencies, the ACE Unit will work to reduce the theft of stolen agricultural and plant equipment and maximise its recovery, both nationally and internationally.

Officers from ACE will work to develop, collate and co-ordinate intelligence from a variety of sources to identify and disrupt organised criminality and target those involved in these thefts, also identify any current and emerging crime trends and threats. The reason ACE was established on the back of Opal is because the unit already has a foothold nationally and intelligence can be shared between the forces.

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The ACE national intelligence hub team will work closely with the industry, developing positive working relationships.

Detective Inspector Ernie Locke, Opal National Intelligence Unit, Serious and Organised Acquisitive Crime commented on the new ACE Unit, said ACE benefits from a dedicated intelligence team.

"By working smarter and in partnership with law enforcement agencies, government agencies, business/industry and academia it will deliver a whole system approach in tackling agriculture and construction equipment theft. It is anticipated that ACE team will continue to grow as their contribution is recognised in this area of criminality," he said.  
Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, NPCC lead for Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime added that they were "really grateful" for the strong support of partners such as the CEA, the AEA  (Agricultural Engineers Association) and the insurance industry.

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