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Eleven Chief Constable Commendations were presented to the team behind a major Thames Valley Police investigation into an organised crime group (OCG) operating across the South East at a ceremony last week.
They were awarded for their roles in connection with Operation Jack Knife at the ceremony at the force’s base in Sulhamstead on Thursday (23/2).
Detective Chief Inspector Aidan Donohoe, who led the operation, said: “I was greatly honoured to receive this commendation from the Chief Constable.
“Operation Jack Knife was an investigation of significant scale and my team worked tirelessly for more than two years to bring these offenders to justice.
“It was wonderful to see them all honoured today for their commitment and hard work.”
The OCG wreaked havoc across several counties between June 2019 and June 2020, targeting ATMs and often using dangerous and violent tactics, such as the use of explosive gases and flammable liquids.
The group also attacked rural locations and other businesses, stealing plant machinery, 4x4 vehicles and tractors in a year-long series of offending.
The bulk of Thames Valley Police’s investigative work involved a series of nearly 60 serious and organised crime offences that took place across the region and was given the name, Operation Jack Knife.
Officers seized more than 1,800 individual exhibits and a total of £88,000 in cash as well as compiling 57 pieces of CCTV footage as part of the investigation.
Following a trial, six members of the OCG were sentenced to a total of 74 years in prison in May last year.
Their contributions are exceptional examples of supporting the force values and policing principles of integrity, accountability and taking pride in delivering a high quality service.
Detective Sergeant Beckie Phillips, of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), who supported the investigation, said: “I am very proud to be recognised for the contribution my intelligence team made into piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of an organised crime group.
“A very long and protracted piece of dedicated development work uncovered the full extent of the OCG's offending and provided golden opportunity for our colleagues in CID to bring the offenders to justice.
“The subsequent investigation and all departments working together as a team makes me proud to be a police officer.”
The officers awarded were: DCI Donohoe, Detective Sergeant Lorna Briggs, Detective Constable Samantha Hall, DC Claire Rennie, DC Mark Wray and PC Adam Taylor from the Op Jack Knife team; police staff investigators Pippa Rouse and Michelle Newman, who provided support; intelligence analyst Helen Woods, intelligence researcher Samantha Nickson and DS Beckie Phillips, from the FIB.
Ten other Chief Constable Commendations were handed out at the ceremony, as well as 13 Long Service Awards for 20 years’ service and two Certificates of Service for more than 30 years’ service.