North Yorkshire Police has announced today (11 March) that from November 2016 it will be launching a new Major Investigation Team, jointly with Cleveland Police. This will significantly boost the number of staff dedicated to investigating the most serious offences, and enhance both Forces’ ability to review cold cases and deal with complex data investigation tasks.
Drawing on existing personnel from North Yorkshire’s Major Incident Team and Cleveland’s Murder Investigation Team, the combined unit will operate out of two bases (at Middlesbrough and Harrogate) working under a single command.
The Team will take responsibility for investigating offences such as murder, stranger rape, extortion, man-hunts and serial armed robberies. Whilst officers will still primarily work on offences that occur within their patch, having a single team will provide both Forces with the flexibility to pull on specialist personnel from the wider team when necessary. This will help the Team to deal with peaks in demand that are a particular feature of serious cases – especially in the crucial first 72 hours of an incident.
The new collaborative arrangements are expected to go live in November, and will increase the number of skilled specialists dedicated to major investigation work from 47 to 74 across the two Forces.
The new unit will provide more capacity for reviewing cold cases, and a special Major Incident Support Team. This will handle “passive” investigation tasks such as the analysis of digital and paper records, which will free up warranted officers to focus on the frontline investigation.
The decision by PCCs and Chief Constables to proceed with a combined Major Investigation Team is the latest step in the Evolve Programme – a long-term project to look at where collaboration across Force boundaries can improve services, reduce duplication and improve cost efficiency. Plans have been under development for nearly a year, and Senior detectives from both Forces were involved in the creation of the new model.
Commenting on the decision, Julia Mulligan, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said:
The Evolve Programme is all about finding ways to improve the service we give to local communities, whilst achieving value for money.
We have been looking at the best way to work more closely with Cleveland Police in this specialist area of investigation for some time, and we now feel we’ve got the right model to go forward.
People in North Yorkshire can have confidence that this latest collaboration will strengthen the police’s ability to respond effectively to the most serious types of crime.
Dave Jones, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, said:
We have had a dedicated team in place for some time to deal with major investigations, but working with Cleveland Police will give us the opportunity to build on the solid foundations we already have in place. Major investigations demand a lot of resource – particularly in the early stages of an investigation. When it is launched in November, the Major Investigation Team will give us access to a larger number of experienced, specialist staff to tackle serious and often complex offences, so we can get on with the job of bringing criminals to justice as quickly as possible.
Mike Pannett is an Independent Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for the upcoming election in May.
Mike Pannett said:
I’m pleased to see North Yorkshire Police catching up with working practices already in place with other police forces across the country and it makes perfect sense to pool resources and share intelligence to solve major crimes.
As a Police and Crime Commissioner, I would personally have sought to take it a step further to its common sense conclusion, and form a Major Crime Investigation Team that included our neighbouring Yorkshire and Humberside forces with whom we also share our borders and major crime investigations.
The UK have the best detectives in the world and a YATH (Yorkshire & the Humber) region Major Crime Investigation Team would be an incredible resource.
I and the public of North Yorkshire will see right through this and all the other recent announcements from the PCC’s office, the timing of which shows that we are dealing with a dyed in the wool second rate politician playing campaign politics with real life policing.
Any efficient PCC would have been on top of this and the other recent announcement during the past 4 years, rather than the past 4 weeks – on the run up to the elections on the 5th of May.
In addition to the formation of the Major Investigation Team, North Yorkshire Police, Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary also agreed to the creation of a new post to explore collaboration in the area of legal services and information rights.