About Us

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) is the name for the Eastern Region Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and was established in 2010 to deliver an increased response to tackling the threat of organised crime across the seven police forces in the Eastern Region of the United Kingdom and to provide specialist covert policing capability to law enforcement.

The unit is made up of resources from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, to identify, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups impacting on the Eastern Region. The unit creates additional specialist capability across the region through effective partnership and collaboration to make the region a place hostile to organised crime.

The mission of the unit is simple, to tackle Organised Crime Groups causing the greatest levels of harm to communities of the East. The unit comprises of a number of highly specialised teams working closely together and has embedded partners from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, UK Border Force, and the National Crime Agency (NCA) working within it.

ERSOU provides the additional capacity and resilience for the region, to use all forms of covert policing tactics against cross border, highly motivated organised criminals. ERSOU can and does provide expert support to the constituent forces as and when required in a number of specialist areas. ERSOU is one of 10 ROCUs (Regional Organised Crime Units) that sit across England and Wales. Each ROCU is supported by an RIU (Regional Intelligence Unit) which, with the exception of the Metropolitan Police, is staffed by police officers and staff from each ROCU's constituent force.

Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics has been produced by the College of Policing in its role as the professional body for policing. It sets and defines the exemplary standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing.ERSOU is committed to ensuring that the Code of Ethics is at the heart of every policy, procedure, decision and action we take.

The full code can be found at  www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/Pages/Code-of-Ethics.aspx

Regional Investigation Teams

ERSOU has 2 regional investigation teams based within the region. Each team is led by a Detective Inspector, their function being to target organised criminal groups utilising a variety of overt and covert investigation techniques.

Eastern Regional Intelligence Unit (ERIU)

The Eastern Regional Intelligence Unit (ERIU) is part of a national infrastructure set up to provide a meaningful intelligence map of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) across the UK. Its role is to provide an informed map of cross-border criminal activity. The RIU works in close proximity with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tackling cross-border criminality, sharing expertise and intelligence to greater effect.

The unit can link into national and international portals through its contacts within the NCA and with other RIUs across the country. It supplies up-to-date information and mapping data about Organised Criminal Groups through its own intelligence gathering sources and also through other forces and regions about criminal gangs migrating into the Eastern Region in order to minimise the potential they may cause to local neighbourhoods and communities.

The role of the Regional Intelligence Unit is to identify where an intervention needs to be made to prevent harm locally by identifying the supply chain of criminal activity and stemming the source, be that drugs, people trafficking or illegal firearms. This timely intervention works to protect local communities.

The focus for the RIU is to disrupt crime and upset criminal networks by making life difficult for enduring criminals. To do this effectively, the team has to have an informed picture and used modern technologies and innovative practices to tackle sophisticated criminal groups and their networks.
Although a small team, the Regional Intelligence Unit is a resource for deployment across the whole of Eastern England supplying support for Force Intelligence Units across the region and working in partnership with the NCA, HMRC and numerous other law and non-law enforcement agencies and bodies.

Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART)

The RARTs were established in 2004 in five of the nine NPCC regions. The network was enhanced to facilitate full coverage in England in Wales in April 2010 following recommendations embodied in HM Government’s organised crime strategy articulated in ‘Extending Our Reach’.

Their original purpose was to assist police forces and other agencies to increase the numbers of confiscation cases and to increase the value of assets seized. Their role has since evolved, the emphasis now being very much on tackling serious and organised crime targeting those individuals who cause our communities most harm.

The Eastern Region team forms part of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) and is tasked via regional forums.
It supports operations by conducting financial investigations devised to support SIO’s overall investigative strategies whilst also providing options in relation to money laundering indictments and confiscation.

The RART also targets ‘professional’ facilitators, such as solicitors and accountants, whose activity allow Organised Crime Groups to dissipate criminal property.

ACE Team

The Eastern Region Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) Team is one of nine formed in England & Wales and sits within the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART)

The purpose of the team is to support HMCTS and CPS in all areas of the enforcement of Confiscation orders granted against individuals under Proceed of Crime Act, Criminal Justice Act and Drug Trafficking Act legislation.

Regional Economic Crime Unit (RECU)

The RECU is formed from two investigative teams: the Financial Investigation team undertakes all asset recovery work under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 on behalf of the constituent forces of ERSOU, including confiscation and cash forfeiture. In addition, the RECU provides Financial Investigation support to a number of priority investigations in the constituent forces, such as Serious and Organised Crime Investigations and Missing Persons Enquiries. The team is staffed by accredited Police Staff Financial Investigators.

The Money Laundering Investigation Team (MLIT) are a specialist team made up of a number of highly trained detectives who investigate complex Money Laundering offences on behalf of the constituent forces of ERSOU, whilst also providing advice and guidance to local officers on financial crime investigations.

Regional Cyber Crime Unit

The unit is a regional team that will contribute, alongside local Forces, other ROCUs, national and international partners, towards the provision of a safer and more secure cyber environment, in support of the National Cyber Security Strategy, making the UK and the Eastern Region a safe place to live and conduct business, working in line with the organised crime strategy strands of Prevent, Prepare, Protect and Pursue.

The team is headed up by a Detective Inspector and has two strands, one dealing with the Pursue strand which consists of two pods headed by a Detective Sergeant and with Detective Constables working with Digital Forensic Experts to combat Cyber Crime. The second strand has the Regional Protect Co-ordinator who deals with the Prevent, Protect and Prepare strands; more details can be located on our Cyber Protect page.

The National lead for Cyber Crime has agreement from all Chief Officers that the Regional Cyber Crime Units will deal with matters of national importance and will be tasked from the centre, and the ROCUs will work as a network against nationally tasked matters.

The current focus for the ROCUs is to concentrate on three areas regarding Cyber Dependant Crime with a regional and national angle, whether reactively or proactively regarding: 

  •  DDoS
  •  Malware/Hacking
  •  Phishing/data theft and money mules from international crimes
  •  Develop intelligence around cases already under investigation concerning other nominal and sharing those within the ROCUs 


GAIN is the Government Agencies Intelligence Network. GAIN is a multi-agency group that brings together intelligence and investigation staff mainly, but not exclusively, from public sector enforcement agencies.

GAIN solves problems by adopting a multi-agency approach and provides a mechanism at a regional level for different national, regional and local agencies to work together in a more formal relationship, exchanging information within legislative constraints, jointly participating in enforcement action, joint training and sharing resources designed to reduce the threat, risk and harm to communities associated to serious and organised crime.

GAIN has a full-time coordinator based within every Regional Organised Crime Unit which enhances each regions ability to tackle serious and organised crime through the sharing of knowledge and appropriate use of a range of powers available to GAIN partners to disrupt criminal activity, identify and seize the proceeds of crime.

Regional Specialist Units

There are a number of other specialist units within ERSOU dealing with specialist functions.

(Updated 4 September 2017).