Suspected criminals have complained that a new police initiative to deploy undercover officers on bicycles is “unfair”.
The tactic is part of West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Viper, which aims to target the county’s most prolific burglars by using profiling and intelligence to put officers in spots where crimes are likely.
It was piloted over the weekend, when a number of plain clothes officers took up positions in locations across the county to catch suspected criminals in the act.
Between Friday and the early hours of Monday, 49 people were arrested for offences including burglary, theft from vehicles and drug crimes.
Sixteen stolen vehicles were recovered and 28 others were seized for being driven without insurance or by disqualified drivers.
Supt Pat Casserly, who led the operation, said: “This weekend marked the first deployment of plain clothes officers on push bikes to complement the operation by spotting suspects and calling in uniformed colleagues in high powered cars to apprehend them.
“To then have suspects complaining to officers that our work wasn’t fair on them says it all and guarantees that we’ll be repeating this tactic in the near future as we continue to work hard to make our communities safer.”
He said the operation aims to stop crime before it takes place.
“This activity was about taking the fight to those who look to prey like vultures on our communities and targeting them before they have chance to carry out crime,” he said.
“Over the weekend, the combination of uniformed officers in performance vehicles, public order vans and covert assets brought about 49 arrests and a reduction in burglary.”