Police across Cambridgeshire are taking part in a national operation to tackle personal robbery.

Operation Calibre runs across England, Wales and Scotland throughout November and began in Cambridgeshire yesterday (November 20).

It will see police intensify their efforts across a number of hotspot areas to target habitual offenders and take them off the streets.

The constabulary will also be offering crime prevention advice to help keep people keep their belongings safe when they are out and about.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Taylor, the force’s Operation Calibre lead, said: “While rates of personal robbery in Cambridgeshire are low, one incident is too many and we know the traumatic affect robbery can have on individuals, families and communities.

“We will target our activity in known hotspot areas, increasing our visibility and arresting those intent on committing crime. We will also target habitual criminals, who can be responsible for multiple crimes.

“While we are doing all we can to detect and deter this type of crime, there are several tips you can follow to protect yourself which we encourage you to share with family and friends.”

If in the unfortunate circumstances you are a victim of robbery, report it to police or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Personal robbery safety tips

  • Anyone can become a victim of robbery, make sure you do all you can to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
  • You are less likely to be targeted if you look confident. Move with purpose and try to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Plan your route and think about what to take with you, especially if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before. Keep to busy, well-lit streets, walkways and paths which are more likely to be covered by CCTV. Only take licensed taxis or minicabs booked by phone or a mobile phone app.
  • Keep your mobile phone and valuables out of sight. If you’re using your phone it’s more likely to be snatched from your hand as you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, so look around you.
  • And never leave a mobile, any other device, wallet or purse on the table of an outdoor café, pub or restaurant. Same goes for any jewellery you might be wearing – keep it covered when walking down the street.
  • Finally – and this is so important to remember – if you’re threatened with violence, don’t risk your personal safety. Property can be replaced, you can’t.
  • It’s a good idea to scan the area around ATMs before you use them. Be aware of anyone standing close by and always check the machine to see if it’s been tampered with before you use it.
  • Things to look out for are devices attached to the machine – some are more obvious than others. If you do see something suspicious contact the police and the bank.
  • Remember, if it doesn’t look or feel right then steer clear and, if possible, go inside the bank where it will be safer. And always keep a regular check on your transactions.
  • We know it’s not always easy, but try to be aware of anyone near you when you’re at an ATM. Being aware of your surroundings and not being distracted makes it harder for people to take advantage and less likely that they’ll try to.
  • Thieves will watch as you key in your PIN or distract you while you’re withdrawing cash. Be vigilant. Cover your PIN and keep an eye on your card at all times. If someone taps you on the shoulder or tries to speak to you, just ignore them.
  • When you've left the ATM, put your card away immediately.
  • You should also be careful with contactless cards. You can get a card holder to prevent your card details being inadvertently read.