COMMENT: Let's hope Hawk's wings are not clipped before it flies

On the face of it, Operation Hawk seems like a great idea.

Thursday, 29th June 2017, 11:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:31 am

Like the bird after which it is named, there is a vision of its team bearing down, gimlet-eyed, on its prey, letting nothing get in the way of its powerful, law-enforcing talons.

More power to their elbow, most law-abiding people will cry, especially those who have suffered the crushing blow of a burglary for which no one has ever been caught.

What about those, usually elderly and vulnerable people, who are conned by fraudsters into letting them into their homes, only to find their life savings have vanished minutes after their caller has done the same thing?

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Detective Sergeant Martin Longyear, who heads the team, tells us today: ‘Our ultimate aim is to show any criminal that committing crime full stop doesn’t pay, but targeting any type of vulnerable person especially the young and the elderly to either make a criminal living or get your kicks is not going to happen.’ Three cheers for that.

But hang on a minute, as we report, the Fratton-based Op Hawk is no longer the ‘burglary unit team’.

These days its remit is far wider. It encompasses everything from child abuse to football-related violent disorder in Portsmouth.

In these days of savage cuts to our police forces, intelligence-led policing seems to have become the norm. Investigations by one unit can unearth leads for another which end with arrests in completely unrelated investigations. We would hope Hampshire police’s operations are that joined-up.

However, as much as we welcome Op Hawk’s presence, we cannot help but wonder if its team members are not having their talents spread too thinly by their bosses – thereby blunting those talons.