By Darryl Preston
Serious organised crime (SOC) is the biggest security threat to our country – conservatively estimated to cost the UK economy £37 billion a year.*
The criminals responsible for SOC cause devastating harm to individuals, businesses and communities – here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and across the UK.
These criminals lead lavish life styles at the expense of misery to others, a misery which all too often manifests in our local communities.
Much of the increasing serious violence, knife and gun crime is as a result of illegal drugs supply with criminals exploiting young vulnerable boys and girls to run ‘county lines’ networks.
Drug users will often commit other crimes to feed their habits, including burglary, robbery, shoplifting, vehicle and bike theft – crimes we can all fall victim to and make us feel unsafe in our communities.
I know what I'm talking about
I sat on the national county lines working group, attended the national taskforce on serious violence chaired by the Home Secretary, have worked closely with the National Crime Agency and was senior policy lead at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners for Serious Organised Crime.
So I know what I’m talking about, both strategically and tactically as I have also been a frontline police officer locking up these criminals.
This is not a scourge which just impacts our cities – there are county lines operating in towns and villages right across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Child abuse too
There are many other types of serious organised crime, including criminal networks which sexually abuse children for gratification and financial reward, enabled by the internet.
This is cyber-enabled crime, a new and increasing threat to us all. We are more likely to be a victim of cyber-enabled crime, such as fraud, then any other crime.
And, of course, rural and business crime, with high-cost plant and machinery stolen by sophisticated organised criminals.
We need to make our county and country hostile to organised criminals, putting them in jail where we can, disrupting them when we can’t and hitting them where it hurts most – by confiscating all their ill-gotten gains.
If elected I will…
1. With the national police officer uplift, make resources available to the Chief Constable to increase the number of detectives in the constabulary.
2. Support and fund the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, the team leading the fight to tackle serious organised crime across our region.
3. Engage with and support the National Crime Agency, encouraging more operations to fight serious organised crime in our county.
4. Lobby for more of the cash and assets seized from organised criminals to be put back into policing, supporting victims and catching criminals
Darryl Preston is the Conservative candidate in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner election in May 2021. There's more about Darryl on the About Darryl Preston page.