WEST Midlands Police says it will add boots on the ground to stamp out vehicle crime across the region.
The specialist Vehicle Crime Taskforce has already made over 100 arrests and recovered scores of stolen vehicles after it launched in September.
The force says it will have 35 officers and staff will be primarily involved in catching car criminals, shutting down chop shops and returning stolen vehicles to their rightful owner.
It added the Taskforce has brought a number of early successes including two men charged with over 60 vehicle crime offences, and another six in relation to a large-scale chop shop.
Officers also traced a £60,000 Range Rover in Frankley within 40 minutes of it being taken miles away in Stourbridge. A man in his 40s was later charged with theft of a motor vehicle and driving offences.
West Midlands Police says the increased numbers means it will have even more local knowledge and experienced detectives – who will work alongside existing traffic and neighbourhood officers – to drive down vehicle crime throughout the West Midlands.
Detective Superintendent Jim Munro, who heads up the Taskforce, said: “This further shows just how important we take tackling vehicle crime.
“We know how angry and frustrating it is to be a victim, and the wider impact that not having a car can have on lives; not just your own but your family.
“We set up the Taskforce in response to this and we’ve already had some real success. Now with extra numbers we can make even more of a difference.
“With the support of the public we can continue to tackle car crime and shut down chop shops which act as a market for car thieves.
“If we receive the intelligence we will take action, as the fact we’ve charged more than 50 suspects further shows.”
Police are urging motorists to use steering locks and always make sure vehicles are locked when unattended.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “This is news that I know will be warmly welcomed by the people of the West Midlands.
“We have seen a significant spike in vehicle crime across the country in recent years and so I’m very pleased to see West Midlands Police continuing to take it seriously.
“The criminals need to understand that West Midlands Police know who they are, that they we will be caught and that they will be brought to justice.
“I’ve also been shining a light on vehicle security, to ensure manufacturers take responsibility for making cars that are far harder to steal.”
For more or advice on how to keep vehicles safe visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/552.