Officers from Hampshire have been named Special Constabulary Team of the Year.

The team of seven special constables, six special sergeants and two senior specials were honoured for their work in preventing theft from freight vehicles as part of Operation Hoist.

The team was celebrated at the force’s annual Citizens in Policing Awards, which honours those who dedicate their spare time to volunteering in a variety of roles with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary.

Sam de Reya, deputy chief constable, said: “This dedicated team of special constables has had a huge impact on preventing crime, saving businesses thousands of pounds in stolen goods.

"Their work has had an immensely positive impact and feedback from hauliers shows a tremendous appreciation for this effort.

"This operation shows the value that the Special Constabulary can add and going forward, it is hoped this work can be used as a model to tackle other areas of Serious and Organised Crime.”

Operation Hoist was established to tackle serious acquisitive crime where criminals target heavy goods vehicles in service areas, laybys and industrial estates.

These crimes are usually committed by organised crime groups and have a significant impact on businesses and local communities.

The responsibility for setting up and spearheading the 12-week policing operation solely undertaken by special constables was taken on by Special Superintendent Russell Morrison and Special Chief Inspector Simon Tavender.

This operation supported various other initiatives across the force.

Working hand-in-hand with the force’s Intelligence and Tasking Department, the team collected information while also coordinating with the Commercial Vehicle Unit and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service.

From September to November 2023, Special Constabulary officers carried out high visibility patrols and engaged with freight drivers in motorway service areas in Fleet, Winchester, Sutton Scotney, Tot Hill and Rownhams.

The effort led to a massive reduction in theft cases and during the operation, 13 thefts from heavy goods vehicles were reported.

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