All police vehicles out on the roads today

Chief Supt Dickie Whitehead
Chief Supt Dickie Whitehead

West Yorkshire Police are showing their love for catching criminals this Valentine’s Day by deploying their entire vehicle fleet onto the county’s roads as part of a major crime offensive.

Named Operation Venom II, the activity will ensure every vehicle with police insignia is deployed onto the roads to target burglars and travelling criminals.

In order to crew the variety of cars, 4x4 vehicles, vans, and motorbikes, specialist and advanced drivers are being supplemented by special constables and senior officers to ensure all vehicles hit the road at the same time.

It is thought this type of activity will triple the normal deployment of police vehicles and forms part of West Yorkshire Police’s Viper offensive, which aims to transfer the fear of crime onto criminals themselves.

The show of strength includes vehicles that are normally used to deal with public order operations like football matches.

These will be joined by Roads Policing Units, Firearms Officers, Dog Units, Roads Crime Team officers and police motorcycle riders.

Vehicles used to train advanced police drivers are also being utilised as part of the coordinated deployment of specialist resources.

Superintendent Pat Casserly who is leading the operation, said: “I can assure anyone involved in criminality that we’re happy to take them away for the weekend and we have some basic but comfortable accommodation made up of a 10ft by 10ft cell that’s ready and waiting to be occupied!”

It is the second time in a month that police have used the tactic of deploying all vehicles en-masse to target individuals and areas that have been linked to criminality through police intelligence systems.

During the course of the last Operation Venom, rates of burglary were cut across the force by 33% and 23 people arrested for offences including burglary, robbery, money laundering and theft.

Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead who leads Operation Viper, said: “Viper is part of our day-to-day, all year round effort to combat burglary and this weekend’s activity is just one aspect of the way in which we are using a wide variety of policing techniques to actively target the county’s most prolific criminals.

“This approach is starting to achieve significant results with domestic burglary down by 21% year-on-year since Viper came into force in October last year.

“These high tech, high visibility and high impact deployments reflect the day to day determination of West Yorkshire Police to keep our communities safe.”