Police chiefs are hailing the results of the first phase of a crackdown on car and vehicle crime across Scotland as a success.
A national operation, Quarterlight currently has particular focuses in 6 divisions around Scotland – C (Forth Valley), E (Edinburgh), L (Argyll & West Dunbartonshire), G (Greater Glasgow), N (Highlands & Islands) and U (Ayrshire).
The operation took a two-pronged approach – detection and prevention.
Since its launch in November 2014, nearly 900 vehicle related crimes have been detected, with detection rates increasing across most of the country.
More than 350 people have been charged with a number of vehicle related crimes in that time, including theft & attempted theft of motor vehicles, and house breaking with vehicles being stolen.
A toolkit for officers has also been produced to ensure the aims of Operation Quarterlight become firmly embedded in day to day policing.
Notable successes have been achieved across the country. In North Ayrshire, within U Division, officers identified a cluster of young men responsible for a sharp increase in local vehicle-related crime in recent months. All four were traced, apprehended, and have either been remanded in custody or put under bail curfew orders.
Also within U Division, a prominent rural thief has been arrested in connection with thefts from agricultural vehicles in East Ayrshire – news which has been well received by the community. Targeted work has been carried out in rural communities, including campaigns with NFU Scotland within L & U Divisions, where theft of agricultural vehicles such as quad bikes, has increasingly become an issue for farmers as well as police.
Police in Edinburgh (E Division) have made numerous arrests, including detaining 2 individuals jointly responsible for more than 20 crimes, and officers investigated the suspected use of a “Bumper Key” to open vehicles without damaging them. Operation Quarterlight officers also uncovered drugs worth more than £30,000 during a vehicle search.
Within Forth Valley (C Division), several high profile offenders - including two from Glasgow - who’ve been responsible for more than 60 vehicle related crimes in the area, have been identified, and are either in custody, or have warrants active against them.
Teams also worked collaboratively across divisional lines to ensure perpetrators committing crimes outwith their residential areas are traced and charged. Officers in G (Greater Glasgow) and L (Argyll & West Dunbartonshire) staged a joint operation to trace and detain a known offender reported for more than 50 crimes.
Officers across Scotland are also delivering crime prevention advice within their communities, particularly in rural areas in L, N and U divisions. Via social media, Operation Quarterlight officers highlighted how a change in personal behaviour can prevent you becoming a victim of crime. Advice was targeted around issues such as vehicles being left running, and unattended, with keys in the ignition, while defrosting, and the ease with which thieves can steal keys left visible within the home.
Detective Superintendent Yvonne Scott, deputy lead for Operation Quarterlight, said: “Through Operation Quarterlight, Police Scotland will continue to target those responsible for all types of vehicle crime. The consequence of this type of crime can be frustrating and inconvenient and therefore I would again appeal to the public to work with us. In particular ensuring the safety of your property, be it in your home or your car. Secure your home and vehicle, particularly with the better weather, remember to remain vigilant and don’t leave valuables in sight and make sure your car keys are not left where they can easily be stolen – make sure they are out of sight in your home.”