Police said the Tactical Enforcement Unit will be dedicated to capturing some of Sussex’s most wanted and prolific offenders, including those involved in serious violence, organised crime and county lines drugs gangs.
The team, made up of officers with specialist skills in proactive policing, will carry out targeted disruption, enforcement and patrol activities wherever it is most needed, according to police.
One initial central team made up of eight PCs, a sergeant and led by an inspector, will grow to form three geographically-based enforcement teams, one each based in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, by April 2020, say police.
Deputy chief constable Jo Shiner said, “We want Sussex to be a hostile environment for criminals and especially those involved in serious violence and targeting vulnerable people across our county, whether through county lines drugs gangs or other organised crime.
“The Tactical Enforcement Unit will be a visible, proactive deterrent to those at the centre of the serious offending, supporting local policing teams in dealing with specific spikes in crimes that impact on the community and it is already making a difference with a successful operation on its first day.
“They will work where the need is greatest and provide public reassurance by being present and proactively disrupting and taking off the streets some of our most prolific criminals.”
Police said the new unit has been established through an uplift in officers with the force on track to recruit a net gain of 129 officers by March 2021, thanks to a combination of additional precept and Government funding.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said, “This is great news for our residents and bad news for our most dangerous criminals who will now be more proactively and robustly targeted.
“The public have been calling for increased visibility and more preventative action and I’m pleased that the increase in government funding, that we’ve all lobbied hard for, is making this possible.
“This is sending out a warning to those who continue to exploit, endanger and threaten any of our residents that they will face harsh consequences for their actions.”