Police force questions all offenders in area

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The Independent Online

A chief constable has ordered that every known criminal in his county be questioned by police after a recent rise in crime.

John Giffard, of Staffordshire police, said he was determined to tackle a "hard core" of criminals responsible for the increase in recorded crime in the county.

Operation Justice has already involved dawn raids on dozens of suspected burglars, drug dealers and thieves.

During its first week, officers have seized firearms, drugs and property worth an estimated £100,000.

Over coming weeks dozens more suspected criminals will be questioned about unsolved offences. Detectives hope the operation will improve the force's clear-up rate, as well as improve public confidence in the police.

The number of arrests made is likely to be largest ever carried out in a single operation in Staffordshire, according to the chief constable. Each day between 300 and 400 police officers are involved in the operation.

Staffordshire's summer "zero tolerance" drive chimes with the Government's claim to be tough on crime. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has said law and order agencies should target the 100,000 criminals thought to be behind the majority of offences in the UK.