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Operation Raj takes criminals off the road in Borehamwood
Two men have been arrested as police, immigration officers and council staff staged a crackdown on illegal vehicles and their drivers.
This morning police cars and motorbikes took suspicious vehicles off the streets around Borehamwood and channelled them into the car park of Hertsmere Borough Council’s Civic Offices in Elstree Way.
There a team of people was on hand to inspect vehicles and their drivers to ensure they were not breaking the law.
Called Operation Raj, the exercise, which ran from 7.30am until 12.30pm, was a means of clamping down on private vehicle-related offences, unsafe taxis, fly-tipping rogue traders and other criminal activity.
It was carried out jointly by Hertfordshire Constabulary and Hertsmere Council, with the help of the UK Border Agency, Trading Standards, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
UK Border Agency staff arrested two men who did not have the right to be in the country.
The first had been arrested for overstaying his visa and was taken to Hatfield Police Station until he could be dealt with by immigration staff.
The second, a Pakistani man living in the Cricklewood area, had been driving his taxi for more than 20 hours a week, in contravention of his student visa.
Claire Watkins of the UK Border Agency said the morning had been “very successful.”
Neighbourhood Inspector for Hertsmere Richard Johnson said dozens of vehicles had been brought in, including taxis, white vans and those carrying waste.
He said: “This is an opportunity for all agencies to come together and crack down on a variety of offences at once.
“It allows people to meet representatives from other agencies and learn from what they do.
“Members of the public have been generally supportive, even those who have been stopped.
“At the end of the day this operation is a high profile and more efficient way of cracking down on a lot of criminals at once rather than doing it in dribs and drabs.
“It’s been a good morning’s work.”
Taxi driver Mohammed Basharad, who was stopped for having a snapped license plate, said he thought the operation was a good way of keeping people informed about the law and cutting down on crime.
Paul Sawyer of Hertsmere Council’s environmental health team was there to raise awareness of changes to scrap metal laws.
Trading standards representative Yvonne Bartlett was promoting Hertfordshire County Council’s buy with confidence scheme which gives consumers a list of reputable traders.
She said: “We’ve issued eight pieces of advice already. That’s eight people who, until today, were breaking the law.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd was present at the operation.
He said the exercise was in line with his aim of encouraging cooperation between different agencies to in detecting and preventing crime.
He said: “Today is about different organisations working together to ensure Hertsmere is crime free.
“High profile operations give people the message that people who want to commit crime in Hertsmere are not welcome.”
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