Operation Brightshadow reduces burglaries by a third
House burglaries in Basildon fell by more than a third thanks to
an operation which saw police actively follow suspected criminals
for a week.
The number of house burglaries reported to police fell by 36 per
cent during Operation Brightshadow, which ran from Monday, October
3 to Sunday, October 9, compared to the week before.
Burglaries of sheds, garages and commercial buildings also fell by
69 per cent during the operation which saw police overtly observe
five previously convicted criminals who they believe are actively
committing burglary and handling stolen goods.
Those being observed were given a letter at the start of the week
to explain the operation and then followed so they couldn’t commit
The unique tactic was first used in Basildon in May 2009. The first
of it’s kind in Essex, it was such a success it has since been
repeated in other areas of Essex and adopted by other police forces
in the UK.
This month the operation was rolled out as part of the Basildon
Community Safety Partnership’s Burglary Tasking and Finishing Group
which sees police, Essex Probation, the Drugs Intervention
Programme and Basildon Borough Council pooling their resources to
During the operation those who have drug problems are given the
chance to speak to a worker from the Drugs Intervention Programme
who can offer support should they want to turn their lives
Inspector Simon Gray chairs the Burglary Tasking Finishing Group
and led the operation.
He said: "I am pleased to see that during the deployment of Bright
Shadow, there was over a third less burglaries reported to
“This tactic has been an effective weapon in our war against
burglary, and I hope we have sent out a stern message to anyone
wanting to commit burglary that you will be relentlessly pursued by
police until you change your ways.
“We will continue to work with those targeted, along with our
partners, to ensure they are given the opportunity to divert their
lives away from a life of crime.
"I know some people will ask us if this is a breach of their human
rights, but this was a big consideration when the operation was
drawn up in 2009. The Human Rights Act requires us to balance the
rights of the individual and the rights of the community, and time
and time again, the rights of the community not to be burgled and
have their lives turned upside down always wins.”
Councillor Frank Tomlin, Basildon Council’s Cabinet Member with
responsibility for Community Safety, added: "These are excellent
results and I am delighted that the operation had such a
significant impact on the number of burglaries in the
“It is now vital that we continue to work together as a partnership
to ensure that these prolific offenders do not go back to their old