Following the HMIC report into police and the National Crime Agency response to county lines on Friday 10 January, I spoke about the dedication of our officers and staff in dismantling this appalling crime.
On Monday, I saw this dedication first-hand when I joined officers on a number of warrants in Swindon. I was extremely impressed with the approach, teamwork and organisation shown in tackling this issue.
The first intensification phase last year, Op Jetway, was testament to the fantastic work and can-do attitude of officers and staff. Op Samphire, which launched this week, continued this good work in ensuring that those who choose to be involved in the supply of class A drugs are put before the courts for their actions.
As of yesterday evening, the total arrests for the week stood at 33, including three arrests, which were not drug related but were carried out by officers involved in the week of action. These statistics send a clear message to the wider community that we take all concerns seriously. I have already received comments from many of you commending the activity and thanking officers for their efforts.
It is important to remember that this is not just about enforcement. All too often, we are seeing vulnerable people being caught up in this type of crime and the force and my office fully recognise that it is also vital to educate and protect. A multi-agency response is required in order to best reach those who really need our help. That is why protecting the most vulnerable people in society is one of my priorities outlined in the Police and Crime Plan 2017-21.
I am determined to make sure that this type of work continues but it can only do so if you, the public, help us stamp out these gangs by using your eyes and ears. I appreciate that initially you might think that no action has been taken immediately after you report concerns or intelligence, but please understand that these operations are complex and take months to plan and gather intelligence. Your intelligence is vital and I urge you to report any concerns to 101 or 999 in an emergency.
We have made a good start but let's continue to work together to make sure criminal gangs know they are not welcome in our county.