Welcome to Zephyr
Zephyr is a Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) established in September 2010 to identify, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups impacting on the South West of England. The unit brings additional specialist capability across the region through effective partnership and collaboration to make the area a place hostile to organised crime.
It is a collaboration of the five forces in the region – Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire working across county borders. It brings together the capability and funding to gather intelligence, crack serious and organised crime networks and seize the assets of the criminals involved.
Our vision is simple; to protect the communities within the South West from serious and organised crime. To achieve this, the unit consists of a number of specialists, some of which are covered in more detail below, along with embedded partners from the National Crime Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the United Kingdom Border Force, the National Offender Management Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.
One of nine ROCUs that sit across England and Wales, Zephyr provides the additional capacity and resilience for the region, to use all forms of covert policing tactics against cross border, highly motivated and organised criminals.
Zephyr is led by Police Assistant Chief Constable, David Lewis.
Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)
The Intelligence Unit (RIU) is part of a national infrastructure set up to provide a meaningful intelligence map of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) across the UK. Its role is to provide an informed map of cross-border criminal activity. The RIU works in close proximity with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tackling cross-border criminality, sharing expertise and intelligence to greater effect.
The focus for the RIU is to disrupt crime and upset criminal networks by making life difficult for enduring criminals. To do this effectively, the team has to have an informed picture and used modern technologies and innovative practices to tackle sophisticated criminal groups and their networks.
Regional Prison Intelligence Unit (RPIU)
It is important that once offenders are convicted of organised crime and sent to prison their risk to communities continues to be managed. Working in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service there are police officers based in each of the South West’s ten prisons and a small team of prison and police staff based in the centre sharing information to prevent and detect crime.
The Operations Team
There are two investigation teams based within the region, each team is led by a Detective Inspector. They specialise in conducting operations against organised crime groups. Their function being to target these criminals, utilising a variety of overt and covert investigation techniques. They have seized millions of pounds worth of drugs, stolen property and cash as well as firearms and ammunition.
Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART)
The Regional Asset Recovery Team specialises in seizing assets and property from criminals where it has been established that they have acquired the assets by criminal means. The unit was established in 2010 and since then has confiscated more than £9,872,000 million in criminally acquired assets.
Regional Fraud Team (RFT)
The Regional Fraud Team target organised criminals as part of the government’s response to the growing impact of fraud on the UK economy and the evolution of organised crime groups into areas of high profit, low risk crime including that which is cyber-enabled. The annual economic impact to the UK from fraud is estimated to be over £52 billion.
Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU)
The Regional Cyber Crime Unit target cyber crime and cyber attacks. The unit specialise in identifying those engaged in large-scale computer and network intrusions, including denial of service attacks and website defacement.
Government Agencies Intelligence Network (GAIN)
Government Agencies Intelligence Network is a multi-agency group that brings together intelligence and investigation staff from numerous enforcement agencies. GAIN provides a platform for law enforcement and their partner agencies to tackle OCG’s and Serious and Organised Crime. GAIN solves problems by adopting a multi-agency approach.
Protected Persons Service (PPS)
Protected Persons Service is committed to the protection and care of individuals who are considered by law enforcement agencies to be at risk of serious harm. Whilst we are part of UK policing we work independently of police forces in providing protection arrangements, and concentrate solely on keeping people safe and helping to bring offenders to justice.
We undertake to treat people fairly, honestly and professionally. Our staff are specialists and the safety of those in our care is our main responsibility. We operate discreetly and only with the full co-operation of those for whom we have responsibility.
Regional Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
In March 2015, the Home Office announced the funding for a new network of regional police coordinators and analysts aimed at strengthening the law enforcement response to the threat of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE.) They are responsible for the delivery of the existing National Policing CSE action plan for the five forces in the South West and the Regional Organised Crime Unit. Working under the direction of the National Policing Lead for Child Protection, the coordinators will also work with partners to coordinate the local response to key national policy. The analysts will be tasked with the identification of CSE across force boundaries to enable a better understanding and targeting the threat of exploitation. Our CSE Co-ordinator has a blog on this site which can be accessed here.