Operation Crossbow: Criminals travelling between Cheshire and Merseyside to commit serious and organised crime targetted
People who travel between Cheshire and Merseyside to commit serious and organised crime have been targeted by police as part of Operation Crossbow.
The day of action – which took place this morning (Monday 17 October) – saw Cheshire Constabulary join forces with Merseyside Police and British Transport Police, deploying more than 200 officers in a bid to disrupt and deny criminals using the road and railway networks between the county border.
Working together, Cheshire and Merseyside police flooded the main arterial routes in and out of Warrington, Halton and Merseyside aiming to flush out any potential criminals using the transport network to commit crime.
Cheshire’s Roads and Crime officers in marked cars parked at strategic locations and used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to monitor vehicles crossing between the counties. Stop checks were made on every vehicles that was linked to criminal activity or believed to be operating on the roads illegally.
Officers from British Transport Police patrolled and monitored the trains that were travelling into Widnes, while earlier in the day Merseyside Police executed five warrants relating to drug offences and money laundering.
Another initiative used by officers was Operation Yellow Card which allows officers who suspect someone is carrying out criminal activity to issue them with a warning card.
The visible and high profile presence is intended to send a strong warning to anyone associated with or linked to serious and organised crime, and comes off the back of the recent serious violence in Merseyside, which has included three fatal shootings.
Since then Merseyside Police has made hundreds of arrests in relation to serious and organised crime and Operation Crossbow forms part of that continued drive to prevent individuals from moving from the city into the Cheshire area solely for criminal purposes.
Chief Superintendent Alison Ross said: “Operation Crossbow is our joint response to policing the region’s borders including those who use road and rail networks to commit criminality and to send a strong message to individuals associated with or linked to serious and organised crime.
“The operation builds on the hundreds of arrests that have occurred in Merseyside following the serious violence that involved three fatal shootings and to further prevent criminals who may choose to move their criminality into other neighbouring areas as a result of the disruption.
“We know there is a strong link between the illegal use of vehicles and other serious and organised crime, which is why we are working together with our colleagues in Merseyside and British Transport Police to target these criminals as they travel across the region.
“By joining forces we’re creating a show of strength and we will not stop pursuing those who are intent on coming into and out of Cheshire in order to commit crime, further creating that hostile and fearful environment for criminals to operate.”
“We must not underestimate the impact of cross-border crime on our local communities and we will continue doing all we can to protect the public that we serve.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, said: “Cheshire Constabulary’s work alongside Merseyside Police and British Transport Police shows a united front against serious and organised crime and reinforces the message that those using our roads to commit crime are not welcome in Cheshire.
“Preventing and tackling crime is key to delivering the Police and Crime Plan and Operation Crossbow shows the commitment to making Cheshire a hostile environment for criminals. I hope this day of action reassures the county’s residents that police officers are out there, keeping you safe and putting a stop to criminal activity.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Wiggins, from Merseyside Police, said: “During this day of action, we have shown our continued commitment to the communities of Merseyside and Cheshire and our promise to make the region a hostile environment for criminals to operate in. This operation is an extension of the excellent work we do between the forces on a daily basis
“I hope the arrests and drugs seized at this morning’s warrants in Liverpool demonstrate a clear and direct message to those using our roads and rail network to commit crime that they are not welcome in Cheshire or Merseyside, and they will be brought to justice.
“There is also a strong link between the illegal use of vehicles and other serious and organised crime, which is why all three forces are working together to target those criminals as they attempt to travel across our regions.”
Chief Inspector Dave Rams from British Transport Police said: “Joint working with our policing colleagues is vital to successfully disrupting crime and makes a real difference to local communities harmed by criminality.
“As a specialist police force, we are experts at detecting and deterring crime and work to make the railway a hostile environment for organised criminal activity.
“Monday’s operation isn’t a one-off – we police the rail network every day to track down offenders and bring them to justice.
“And the work doesn’t stop here – we continue to work closely with our police colleagues and the rail industry to pursue offenders and bring down criminal enterprises.”
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