Sergeant reveals what's in store for new TV show with Suffolk police team

Fast Justice Suffolk police Sentinel teams

Sgt Lee Simons (left) and Sgt Mike Moon with the south and east Sentinel teams - Credit: ITN Productions/UKTV

A Suffolk police sergeant has revealed what's in store for viewers of a new TV documentary series featuring his crime-fighting team.

The first of a 10-part series following two of Suffolk's three Operation Sentinel teams gets underway this weekend. 

The opening instalment of Fast Justice will air on Freeview entertainment channel Dave at 6pm on Sunday, April 18. 

Each hour-long episode will examine the work of units established with the specific goal to proactively tackle organised crime, including county lines drug trafficking, on the county's road network.

The first Sentinel team was established in late May 2019, covering south Suffolk, with funding from a rise in the council tax precept.

Two more teams have since been established – each similarly equipped with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology and high performance, customised BMWs.

ITN Productions spent three months embedded with officers from the original south unit, based near the Essex border, and the Lowestoft-based east team during the latter part of last year.

East team sergeant Lee Simons said the programme will show officers dealing with organised crime groups and higher level drug-dealing.


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"There are car chases, large scale drug recoveries, and taking weapons off people," he added.

Sgt Simons said the success of Operational Sentinel, including almost 1,000 arrests, came from being proactive, professionally inquisitive and having a good nose.

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"I tell my team to go out and hunt, using their experience and natural instinct," he added.

Among the more significant arrests documented by programme-makers was Lewis Whitehouse, who was caught with cannabis worth £50,000 at his home in Lowestoft and later jailed for two years.

Another stop turned up about a thousand pounds worth of alcohol stolen from Tesco, while Sgt Simons himself seized a large carving knife from a young man arrested for drug-dealing.

"Using ANPR is a big driver for us," he said. 

"We can use it against our own systems and knowledge of criminals to get fast-time intelligence on people.

"I like to say we do the basics, but we do them well.

"We've got high-performance cars and we're not tied to our radios.

"We have time to investigate and the ability to turn in some quite tangible results.

"It will be an interesting insight into proactive policing and how we work."

Fast Justice will be broadcast on Dave (Freeview channel 19) and available for catch-up on UKTV play. 

Sgt Simons will also be interviewed by Mark Dolan on Talk Radio at 6.30pm on Friday.

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