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Northamptonshire unveil new fleet of Police Interceptors

Northamptonshire Police today unveiled their new fleet of fully-equipped Interceptor vehicles, creating a new team of Response officers to target criminals on the county’s vast road network.

Funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, the eight Skoda Octavia VRS Estate TDis create a multi-capable vehicle equipped with drones, stingers and ANRP technology.

They will have a dual role of policing the roads and enhancing response capability to all incidents. 

Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper said: “We've got the ANPR that detects the vehicle. We've got the horsepower to pursue the vehicle and hopefully bring it to a stop. And should that not be the case or if it goes off road then we’ve got the technology to be able to follow them using the drones.” 

Chief Constable Nick Adderley said the fleet fill a “capability gap that I recognised in terms of travelling criminality”.

Northamptonshire has a relatively large road network for its size, which is used both by local criminals and those passing through.

CC Adderley said: “We didn't have the capability to have personal intelligence in the first point, and then the capability to intercept those criminals as they started to work through the county.

“We will now have all four corners of the county covered with this capability that can actually do what they need to do.”

The vehicles can either operate as single, individual units, or will “hunt in packs” or have specific operations.

This could include vulnerable and missing persons, road traffic collisions and anything else in terms of response. They also carry method of entry (MOE) hydraulic tools.

CC Adderley said officers were “excited about the capability gap that we've now plugged with this”, and said the vehicles and their equipment had been designed with input from his officers.

“We talk about investing in people - it's about showing an interest in their work, valuing what they do, and actually given them the opportunity to influence your decisions, accepting that you don't have all the answers,” he said.

They are not environmentally friendly – CC Adderley said they were chosen for their performance, handling, agility and load carrying capability.

On the question of how safe it was for an officer to use a stringer, CC Adderley said: “Of course there is a risk in everything that a police officer does, but we give them the very best training and we ask them to where to operate in accordance with our training and where it is not safe to use it - I've been really clear – you don't use it. You let it go.” 

Chief Constable Nick Adderley

Since they are so well equipped and have the ability to charge phones and laptops officers will essentially only need to return to the police station to use the restroom.  

This, CC Adderley said, helps the force achieve his target of greater visibility.

“There is little reason for them to actually come back to the station so they'll be out on the roads for a lot longer,” he said.

Chief Supt. Stamper said deterrent and enforcement “go hand in hand”.

“The biggest deterrent is the fear of being caught. So if we are able to enforce and show criminals that we can enforce, and can catch them, then the deterrent will follow,” he said.

“They're meant to stand out. They're meant to have a presence. That's the whole point.” 

Last year Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) rated Northamptonshire Police as inadequate at investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people and managing demand.  

Northamptonshire’s Fire and Police Commissioner, Stephen Mold, said: “This is kind of a demonstration of our capability. It needs to be seen as part of that broader jigsaw about the ambition for the force.” 

He said feedback from officers, staff and the public was that Northamptonshire these days “feels like a completely different force” to the one it was a few years ago.

The launch of the Interceptors is part of a wider strategy to strengthen crime fighting and links several initiatives, including the £1.3 million investment to add around 100 new cameras to the ANPR network across the county.

“In the past, quite frankly, you could speed through our county, and there's probably not a lot we can do about it. That's no longer the case,” said FPCC Mold. 

The force is also currently expanding its wider use of drones, as well as the number of police dogs, which FPCC Mold said was “all part of that ambition to make sure that we are fit for purpose”. 

“I generally feel the forces in the right direction. I'm not going pretend it's there yet but it's actually going in the right direction and this is an important part of that,” he said.  

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