Op Galaxy - Meet the detectives solving crime in your community
From catching burglars, robbers and thieves to targeting organised crime groups, our Criminal Investigation Department (CID) teams are the ones stopping those who cause significant harm to our communities in their tracks.
As these are also the offenders that we’re targeting as part of our ongoing work for Operation Galaxy, unsurprisingly, our CID teams are playing a key role.
Made of up highly trained detectives, Investigating Officers and Police Constables, each area of the force has its own dedicated team who use their local knowledge and expertise to help keep you safe.
Detective Inspector Tom Kelly (pictured right) is one of these officers, overseeing the work of CID in North East Lincolnshire.
He took time out from his busy schedule to tell us more about life on the front line and how Operation Galaxy is making a difference:
We’ve all heard of CID – tell us more about the crimes you deal with:
In CID we deal with some of the most serious crimes, things that really have an impact on victims and the wider community.
This includes everything from acquisitive crime, such as burglary and robbery to firearms offences, domestic abuse, drugs offences and arson – all of which are key areas we’re targeting under Op Galaxy.
The reason we focus on these kind of offences is that can have a huge effect on someone’s sense of safety and wellbeing, so it’s really important to us to do everything feasible to make them feel secure.
How do you do that?
Of course we want to catch the person responsible and put them before the courts – that goes without saying – but there’s more to it than that.
We care about what’s happened to people who are victims of crime and we understand the effect it’s had on them.
Our colleagues in the Force Control Room, Community Safety Unit and Neighbourhood Policing Teams are great at providing help and support, as well as offering tips and advice on home security and crime prevention.
Our role is the investigation and this can take a number of different forms, depending on the circumstances of the offence.
Tell us more:
An investigation starts from the moment you report a crime to us.
If you’re calling as it’s happening and the offenders are still there, we’ll try to get officers on their way to you as quickly as possible.
When you’ve come back to find something has happened then we need to handle things differently.
We start by getting as much information as we can over the phone to help us decide what we need to do next and this can take some time.
As we’re taking your initial statement, we will ask you questions to find out about any investigative opportunities there might be and use this to put together an investigation plan.
This might mean us coming out to the scene of the crime and gathering forensic evidence but that’s not always necessary.
But if we don’t come that doesn’t mean nothing is being done. There’s lots of work that goes on behind the scenes.
There are lots of teams that form CID and they all different roles to play.
Officers from the Crime Management Unit will start looking at things like the availability of CCTV straight away and suggesting potential lines of enquiry we could make.
This could be forensics. For example, if the offender has dropped something that you know isn’t yours and no one has touched it, or there’s blood on broken glass, it could be really useful for our Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team to come out and gather evidence.
With offences like burglary, a small number of people are usually responsible for the majority of the incidents reported to us and forensics can help us link offenders to crimes.
That’s not always possible though. For example, exposure to the elements or things that have been touched by lots of different people can make finding any relevant evidence very difficult.
What’s important to remember is that CSI is only one of a whole raft of investigation tools we have available to us.
We also consider things like whether it’s likely anyone will have seen or heard anything, looking at how remote the location of the offence is and other factors such as the time of day.
If we think it’s likely someone will have been in the area, we can appeal for witnesses to come forward using our social media and websites, My Community Alert or the local press.
However, sometimes these opportunities just aren’t there and that’s as frustrating for us as is it for you – we get into policing because we don’t want criminals operating in our area.
But even when this is the case it’s not a case of “here’s a crime number and that’s the end of it.”
What do you do then?
We store details of every offence that’s reported to us and that information is used by our intelligence officers and analysts to find patterns that can help us pinpoint who is responsible.
Our CID teams regularly look at this data as part of our ongoing investigations and it may be that a more recent crime can give us the information we need to find out who was responsible for offences that have happened before.
Almost every burglary is also discussed at our morning briefings, which are attended by representatives of all our force teams.
Again, this helps us to see the bigger picture and we can use this to inform our crime prevention work, targeting patrols into vulnerable areas and working with you to offer advice on improving your home security or highlighting scams.
Doing this detective work, piecing together the evidence we have and being able to get justice for victims is the best part of the job.
The things we deal with generally have a significant impact on victims, so being able to offer them a sense of justice in prosecuting offenders and seeing them get custodial sentences for the hard work we do is really satisfying.
It’s also great when we can return stolen property to victims – especially if it has sentimental value.
I know my colleagues over in Hull have recovered a number of stolen motorbikes and other property as part of Op Galaxy, which they have been able to link back to previous burglaries and we hope to do the same with any stolen property we recover in this area.
(pictured right, a stolen bike recovered by officers as part of Op Galaxy)
Where can I find out more?
If you want more information on crime prevention and the latest information about what’s happening in your area, visit our website, sign up to My Community Alert or follow our force Twitter and Facebook accounts @Humberbeat.
If you have more questions about how we deal with burglaries and thefts, head over to our Facebook or Twitter accounts and let us know.
Although we won’t be able to discuss specific cases, we will post another update from our CID teams answering as many as we can on Thursday, 25 June.