PCC says work to disrupt serious and organised crime is paying off - but cautions communities need to feel safe too
Wiltshire Police has been ranked as one of the top forces in the country for disrupting serious and organised crime (SOC) over the past two years, new national data shows.
Data submitted by 41 Forces in England and Wales – excluding the Met and City of London Police – into a national database shows that per 1000 people, Wiltshire Police records 3.27 disruptions of SOC – around four times the national average - and the highest of the 41 forces which submitted data.
Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson welcomed the news.
He said: “County lines, drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour causes real distress within communities.
“Residents have told me they are fed up with this type of criminality and that is why extra resources have been focused on hitting drug dealers where it hurts and extra work to safeguard vulnerable people is being carried out.
“While these disruption figures indicate the proactive, intelligence-led, policing being carried out by Wiltshire Police is achieving results – which is exactly what I want to be happening - both the Chief Constable and I are not complacent about county lines and the impact it has on our communities.
“We know it will take some time for the hard work in securing these disruptions to be felt by the communities themselves but residents can be reassured that the hard work and dedication of Wiltshire Police continues in the meantime.”
What is a disruption?
A disruption occurs when the Force impacts an organised crime group (OCG) or an individual involved in SOC, resulting in them being unable to operate at their usual level of criminality.
These can fall into four categories:
Pursue – These include disruptions such as arrests, charges and convictions, e.g. a drug dealer sentenced to prison;
Protect – This concerns protecting individuals, families, businesses and communities against SOC, e.g. safeguarding a member of the public;
Prevent – This relates to deterring individuals from getting drawn into SOC and ensuring, wherever possible, previous offenders don’t return to crime, e.g. a visit to a school to educate children on the dangers of SOC;
Prepare – This concerns reducing the impact of SOC where it takes place by working collaboratively with private and public bodies, such as landlords and councils, to mitigate its impact.
Det Supt Ben Mant praised officers for the hard work they have put into disrupting organised crime across the county, but said the work needed to continue to keep our communities safe.
He said: “These stats reflect the hard work that our community and neighbourhood policing teams, as well as our specialist teams, have been putting in to disrupt organised criminal gangs and serious organised crime offenders.
“We recognise the significant community impact that serious organised crime, such as county lines and drug-related crime, can have on communities and we are determined to show that there is no place for it in Swindon or across Wiltshire.
“We also recognise that there is still much more work to be done in this area and we will continue to maintain a relentless focus on clamping down on organised criminal gangs.
“This work relies heavily on intelligence we have received from our communities – your information is invaluable as it allows us to build an informed picture and proactively targeted offenders."
If you have any evidence or information regarding drug dealing or organised crime in your area, please report it to us either through 101 or through Wiltshire Police website. Alternatively, information can be left with CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.