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Organised Criminal Networks and their members who steal phones,
wallets, cash and cards from Londoners and visitors to the Capital
are being targeted by police and partners ahead of the Olympic and
Operation Ursus is a multi-agency intervention to target
pick-pockets, table-surfers, bag snatchers, burglars, illegal
gamers and other criminals who target visitors to the capital.
Handlers of stolen property who provide the means for thieves to
turn their efforts into cash are also being targeted and
anti-social behaviour in the areas of the operation will also be
Although an extension of the ongoing work being done to minimise
this kind of crime, Operation Ursus is timed to reduce the harm
these criminal can do during a period when London will have
hundreds of thousands more people in the city than normal.
Today’s activity has begin with the execution of a series of
warrant executions across London boroughs. Approx 400 officers will
be involved in a range of activities during the course of the
Chief Supt John Sutherland who is leading the operation said:
“These criminals may be looking forward to the huge crowds in
London this summer but we aim to ensure that they are unable to
exploit people coming to our Capital for the greatest sporting
spectacle on earth.
“These crimes are committed by individuals but they are often
being orchestrated by Organised Criminal Networks and the proceeds
go on to fund lavish lifestyles and further criminality. We are
targeting criminals at the top as well as the bottom of these
“You can help in our efforts by making sure you take steps to
protect your valuables and making it as difficult as possible for
them to steal them from you.”
Ursus activity across London began on Monday June 25 and will
continue in some areas until the weekend.
Co-ordinated operations have been planned by ten boroughs as
well as the Safer Transport Command, Operation Podium, the
Metropolitan Special Constabulary, the National Mobile Phone Crime
Unit London Crime Squad and our colleagues in other agencies such
as British Transport Police, Territorial Policing, SOCA, City of
London Police, Thames Valley Police and UK Borders Agency.
Ursus is using tried and tested tactics to detect, deter and
disrupt the criminals. These include: High-visibility policing,
decoy operations, covert surveillance, CCTV, ANPR operations,
dispersal zones and warrant execution.
Because our experience shows us that many of those involved in
this type of crime originate from overseas liaison with police from
these nations forms part of Operation Ursus. UKBA are also taking
part in the operation to assist with any immigration issues that
The MPS Safer Transport Command, funded by Transport for London,
which has been running Project Spiderweb in partnership with
British Transport Police and Transport for London to further
crackdown on pick pocketing thefts on London’s buses and Tubes
network in the past 12 months is now playing a major part in
STC Commander Adrian Hanstock said: “The Safer Transport Command is
working with its partners to ensure that London's transport system
remains safe and secure for the travelling public.
“We continuously carry out operations to disrupt criminals
operating on London's transport network and as a result crime on
the transport is at its lowest level for eight years.
“In support of Operation Ursus we have now re-shaped our tactics
and operational focus to target those who commit theft on the
network. This will be a concentrated effort with our teams and
partners across London to further reduce this crime.”