A specialist team has received national recognition for boosting the fight against people smuggling into the UK.
The Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) was awarded a National Crime Agency (NCA) commendation at a special award ceremony.
They were honoured for their work in helping to tackle and disrupt organised crime groups trying to smuggle people into the country in the back of lorries.
The expertise of the small team, from the Joint Operations Unit for Hampshire and Thames Valley, have proved a huge asset to Immigration Officers.
The CVU officers are able to use their specialist equipment and training to interpret the taco-graphs and refrigeration units of commercial vehicles found with people inside them.
These readings offer vital evidence in establishing when the migrants could have entered the lorry and help to determine at an early stage whether or not the driver is likely to have been involved.
Their work has proved so valuable that the team are now automatically deployed to incidents to boost the policing response, while considering the welfare of those found.
The citation praised the joint-working relationship, adding: “The team continually seeks ways to improve how the incidents are dealt with and often go above and beyond their normal duties to help.”
Superintendent Simon Dodds, from the Joint Roads Policing Unit, said: “I am very proud of the Commercial Vehicle Team and their continued efforts in setting national standards.
“The recognition, following a nomination by the Immigration Service, acknowledges their commitment to partnership working to help develop intelligence, improve prosecution opportunities but also provide victim support to many of the migrants.”