THE NET is closing in on wanted people in the Chichester district, after police launched a manhunt on Friday evening (March 21).
Dedicated teams of special constables set out to track down people who had breached court orders, failed to turn up to court, or were wanted as part of other investigations.
“For us, the message is if you fail to attend court you will be arrested,” said Chichester district commander Justin Burtenshaw, who joined the special constables.
“You have one chance, which is to hand yourself in to a police station at the earliest opportunity otherwise we will come knocking at your door at 1am or 2am in the morning.
“We will arrest you and then you will be stuck in a cell for hours – if not right the way across the weekend – until you’re put in front of a court.
“If you are wanted, if you’ve got outstanding warrants against you, hand yourself in to a police station.”
The Manhunt initiative has received great acclaim since its launch in the Brighton and Hove division last October. It is also used by the Metropolitan Police.
Superintendent Lawrence Hobbs of Sussex Police said Manhunt would ‘enhance’ the force’s capability of arresting and locating wanted people.
“From today a wanted person in West Sussex should be a little bit more nervous and looking over their shoulder, as they will be getting a visit from the Manhunt team very soon.”
Special constable teams will head out at any time of the day or night to track down the wanted people.
Acting inspector Roy Hodder, who established the West Sussex team, was co-ordinating from Chichester Police Station on Friday evening.
“This is an ongoing operation,” he said. “It is not going away. We will be knocking at doors at all hours of the night and during the day.
“So if you are wanted, consider the impact you are having on your family and friends, because we will continue to locate you.”
During the briefing, he said people would be under pressure to hand themselves in.
“We will be visiting their last known addresses, places of work, the pub they drink and socialise in. If they drive a car we will be looking at that. There is no escape. We won’t be going away,” he added.
For the full feature, see today’s Chichester Observer (March 27).