EMPAC local operational policing challenges


EMPAC is all about bringing together the best thinking and insights in order to improve policing and better protect the public. We are interested in driving accelerated innovation and enterprise in order to tackle crime.

EMPAC has hosted a number of successful Roundtables on key policing issues in the past, and continues this now by inviting all interested parties, who have something to offer, to join us to help tackle pressing operational policing challenges.

The principle is to bring people together on particular topics to share best practice and identify professional practice or research evidence and seek new insights to accelerate policing improvement. After all, two heads are better than one and many hands make light work!

Let’s work together

Law enforcement professionals and academic researchers alike are encouraged to get involved if they have a shared interest in these topics, and can help identify innovative and enterprising practice improvement opportunities for investigation, disruption or prevention.

The first identified operational challenges are:-

  • Cannabis grows

The National Police Chief’s Council have repeatedly reported that the illegal  cultivation of cannabis poses a significant risk to the UK, and often involves organised crime groups (OCGs).

According to a National Problem Profile (NPCC, 2014) the UK street price of illegal drugs is amongst the highest in Europe and this attracts criminality for profit and for a means to fund other criminal activity, including money laundering, human trafficking and illegal immigration.

  • Catalytic converter theft

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, with some insurance companies reporting a 44% increase in claims. The metals in catalytic converters can be rare and worth a lot, even more than gold in the criminal marketplace, and can be too easily sold on.

Some analysts suggest that organised crime rings could be involved in this activity and we need to both understand and do more to tackle the problem.

  • Curtain side lorry theft

Criminals often work in gangs to cut their way into parked lorries to steal cargo goods and transport the stolen contents away on a waiting vehicle. It’s happening all too often.

On the criminal market, the stolen items such as alcohol, tobacco, vehicle parts and electrical goods, are adding up to in excess of £90m worth of crime.

  • Dog theft

Public concerns over dog theft have rocketed during the pandemic period and there are now calls to create a specific offence as currently dogs are classified as ‘property’ under the Theft Act 1968.

Some surveys are reporting over 80% of respondents experiencing more concerns over talking their dog for a walk now  for fear of being attacked and their dog snatched (APCC, 2021).

If you have an interest, and something to offer, in helping tackle these challenges in the first instance get in touch with EMPAC at :- john.coxhead@empac.org.uk