North East Regional Special Operations Unit

The North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) was established in October 2013 and is a collaboration between the three forces of Northumbria, Cleveland and Durham. All three Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners signed a regional collaboration document which formalised the existing joint working relationship.

The unit creates additional specialist capacity through effective partnership working and collaboration to deliver an increased response to tackling serious and organised crime that transcends Force borders in the region.

A Detective Superintendent and a Detective Chief Inspector lead the unit which comprises of a number of highly specialised teams of officers and staff from the three Forces. They work with embedded partners from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), UK Border Force and the National Crime Agency (NCA) to make the region a place hostile to serious and organised crime.

NERSOU provides the additional capacity and resilience for the region, to use all forms of covert policing tactics against cross border and highly motivated organised criminals. NERSOU can and does provide expert support to the constituent forces as and when required in a number of specialist areas.

NERSOU is one of 10 ROCUs (Regional Organised Crime Units) across England and Wales.

The mission of the unit is simple - To protect the communities of Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria from Serious and Organised Crime. 

The Home Office Serious and Organised Crime Strategy is based upon the following principles:

  • Pursue - prosecuting and disrupting people engaged in serious and organised criminality.
  • Prevent - preventing people from engaging in serious and organised criminality.
  • Protect - increasing protection against organised crime.
  • Prepare - reducing the impact of serious and organised crime where it takes place.

NERSOU's role is critical to the 'Pursue' element of the regional response.

It places emphasis on preventing, prosecuting and disrupting serious and organised crime ensuring a co-ordinated national approach across Government, law-enforcement, security and intelligence agencies. 

NERSOU comprises of the following specialist teams:

Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU)

A ROCU is based within the region with teams led by a Detective Inspector. Their function is to target Organised Criminal Groups using a variety of overt and covert investigation techniques.

The Detective Inspector also leads the Regional Crime Investigation Team which investigates a host of varying crime series, including fraud (i.e. rogue traders), burglary (i.e. distraction), robbery (i.e. tie-up), organised theft of high value metal, HGV vehicles/trailers, machinery and plant, as well as many other cross border criminality committed by travelling offenders. 


Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)

This team is led by a Detective Inspector.

The RIU is part of a national infrastructure set up to provide a meaningful intelligence map of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) across the UK. Its role is to provide an informed map of cross-border criminal activity. The RIU works closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tackling cross-border criminality, sharing expertise and intelligence to greater effect.

The unit can link into national and international portals through its contacts within the NCA and other RIUs across the country. It supplies up-to-date information and mapping data about Organised Crime Groups through its own intelligence gathering sources. It also links in with other forces and regions about criminal groups migrating into the north east region in order to minimise the potential harm they may cause to local neighbourhoods and communities.

The role of the RIU is to identify where an intervention is needed to prevent harm locally, by identifying the supply chain of criminal activity and stemming the source, be that drugs, people trafficking or illegal firearms. This timely intervention works to protect local communities.

The focus for the RIU is to disrupt crime and upset criminal networks by making life difficult for career criminals. To do this effectively, the team needs an informed picture and uses modern technologies and innovative practices to tackle sophisticated criminal groups and their networks.

Although a small team, the RIU is a resource for deployment across the whole of the north east of England supplying support for Force Intelligence Units across the region and working in partnership with the NCA, HMRC and numerous other law and non-law enforcement agencies and bodies. 


Regional Prison Intelligence Unit

The team is led by a Detective Inspector and a Detective Sergeant.

The Prison Intelligence Unit is intended to exploit intelligence that exists within the prison environment, providing a professional and effective relationship between the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), the Prison estate and all law enforcement agencies involved in tackling serious, organised and complex crime.

The unit looks specifically at the issue of organised crime offenders in prison.

The Prison Intelligence Unit co-ordinates the work of the locally embedded Prison Intelligence Officers to provide resilience across the region. 


Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART)

The RARTs were established in 2004 in five of the nine ACPO regions. The network was enhanced to facilitate full coverage in England and Wales in April 2010 following recommendations embodied in HM Government’s organised crime strategy articulated in ‘Extending Our Reach’.

Their original purpose was to assist police forces and other agencies to increase the numbers of confiscation cases and the value of assets seized. Their role has since evolved with the emphasis now being very much on tackling serious and organised crime, targeting those who cause our communities most harm.

The North East Regional Team forms part of the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) and is tasked via regional forums.

It supports operations by conducting financial investigations devised to support SIO’s overall investigative strategies while also providing options in relation to money laundering indictments and confiscation.

The RART also targets ‘professional’ facilitators, such as solicitors and accountants, whose activity allow Organised Crime Groups to dissipate criminal property. 

Regional Fraud Team (RFT)

This team is led by a Detective Inspector (joint with Cyber Crime Unit) and a Detective Sergeant.

Their function is to tackle organised crime groups by the investigation of fraud, corruption and money laundering offences and to maximise the opportunities of partnership working and provide links between local, regional and national teams. Alongside this the team will work to protect vulnerable people and prevent reoffending with targeted protect and prevent measures and education. 

Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU)

This team is led by a Detective Inspector (joint with Regional Fraud Team) and a Detective Sergeant.

The RCCU deals with the most serious pure cyber-dependent offences including Distributed Denial of Service attacks with the use of Botnets, Phishing, Network Compromise and Extortion. They also deal with high value Trojan related Frauds where malware has infected machines.

The unit also works with the other Regional Organised Crime Unit departments and our regional Forces to tackle serious and organised crime by providing investigative and technical support and a proactive cyber capability.

The team also has a dedicated Regional Cyber PROTECT Co-ordinator, who will look to safeguard businesses and communities in the region and minimise the opportunities for criminality in this area.

Regional Specialist Units

There are other specialised covert policing units attached to the unit performing a number of functions.


© NERSOU 2018