South East Regional Organised Crime Unit launches
Regional organised crime units across the south and south east of England come together as a single organisation from 1 April.
The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit will see officers and staff from Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex transfer to Thames Valley Police.
The unit will be aligned to the South East Counter Terrorism Unit.
It aims to create a cohesive response to serious organised crime across the region.'Gun activity'
Unit commander, Assistant Chief Constable Brendan O'Dowda, of Thames Valley Police, said: "There are hundreds of organised crime groups operating across the region.
"Many are involved in large-scale drug distribution, gang and gun-related activity, violence, organised serious acquisitive crime, and the deliberate targeting and exploitation of the vulnerable.
"This is an exciting step forward and one that brings us so many opportunities to protect the public and put hardened criminals where they belong - on the receiving end of justice."
Mr O'Dowda said a new regional Cyber Crime Unit and Confidential Unit would also be set up to work alongside counter terrorism officers, and that the unit was improving ways of collaborating and sharing intelligence with the National Crime Agency.