Conference focuses on how to help police beat organised crime in West Yorkshire
Drugs paraphernalia or a number of mattresses found on the floor of a shared house could be evidence of organised crime taking place.
That was the message from senior officers at West Yorkshire Police as they sought to teach staff from other agencies how they can play a part in cracking down on serious criminals.
The conference at Wakefield District Headquarters is part of work to 'join the dots' between the force and the likes of housing organisations and the Environment Agency, so that potentially crucial information is shared.
Detective Inspector Dave Watts of Wakefield District CID, said: “There are many signs that we have been teaching colleagues from partner agencies to look out for, which could be tell tales of organised or other types of crime.
“These could be drugs paraphernalia left in houses to signs of multiple occupancy in houses such as a number of mattresses on floors, perhaps suggesting the premises has been used for human trafficking.
“If we can train people from partner agencies to pick up on these signs and report them, that will give us a head start in intervening that much sooner."
Key subjects discussed included good practice in collecting evidence, what organised crime looks like nationally and the financial impact it can have on local economies.
Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain,Wakefield District Commander, said: “Organised crime may well not affect many of us in our day to day lives but clearly it does exist in West Yorkshire, just as it does in other parts of the country.
“We have a capability in the district to deal with identified organised groups and also work closely with our colleagues in Protective Services Crime to enhance our local approach.
“This conference was a great opportunity for us to share best practice with partners and give them the tools with which to educate their staff about how to spot the signs of organised criminal behaviour.
“What we need and want to do is join the dots between agencies so we can disrupt these people from operating in communities."
Attendees included Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson, Wakefield District Housing and Wakefield Council, as well as national law enforcement experts in dealing with organised crime groups.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Tackling serious and organised crime is similar to other community safety and policing issues in that we need everyone’s help to identify and stop it.
“We need to make sure that we are accessible so that partners and the community know how to pass information on.
This was a very productive meeting and I look forward to working more closely together with a range of local and national partner agencies to ensure our communities are safe and feel safe, which can often mean Proceeds of Crime assets also being stripped from organised criminals.”