Crackdown on drug dealers embedded in communities will continue
Drug-related crime and the impact it brings has far-reaching consequences and our communities in Wiltshire and Swindon are not immune to those tentacles of crime working their way in to our daily lives.
Communities don’t want to turn a blind eye or stick their heads in the sand when it comes to proactive, robust, policing of the issues that are really blighting their lives and neither do I.
Time and time again, I have heard the frustrations of our residents and communities when it comes to drug dealing
Quite rightly, you’re sick to the back teeth of it and want to see more proactive policing to bring those responsible to justice and I want to ensure that your policing service is tackling those crimes that matter most to communities.
Drugs have a huge detrimental impact - from the exploitation of children and vulnerable people, gang culture, violent crime and associated anti-social behaviour – and the ripples are felt in every corner.
That’s why, alongside the Chief Constable, I’m determined to make Wiltshire a hostile place for those who exploit, bring violence to our communities and deal drugs.
In response, for the first time in the UK, all five police forces, and Police and Crime Commissioners in the south west have come together for Operation Scorpion to place a virtual ring of steel around the region and say enough is enough.
The operation, which took place in March, harnessed collective powers to disrupt drug crime by dismantling drugs supply networks, and arresting those who profit from them.
Our efforts were focused on going after those dealers embedded in our communities and making their lives so uncomfortable they no longer see Wiltshire, and the south west, as a soft option for their criminality.
In Wiltshire alone, Scorpion activity saw 20 people arrested, ten warrants executed, and seven drug lines shut down in just one week. Weapons including a zombie knife were seized, £12.5k in cash seized, £3k of drugs taken off the streets and 24 vehicles stopped.
But enforcement only goes so far and during the week 42 vulnerability checks were carried out, 200 drug users were also contacted and offered support to help them break the cycle of addiction, alongside 11 safeguarding referrals made.
Only by approaching the scourge of drugs holistically will we ever effectively tackle the issues we are currently facing, and inevitably community intelligence must play a role in that.
By reporting your concerns to Wiltshire Police, you are giving your community policing teams a clearer picture of the illegal activity happening in your communities.
Ultimately, the more Wiltshire Police know, the more they can do to tackle those criminals and the less drugs we will see on our streets.
I’ve visited communities across Swindon and Wiltshire where the impacts of drug-related anti-social behaviour have really decimated people’s way of life and I, alongside Wiltshire Police, are determined to make a difference.
I’m pleased to let you know that Scorpion isn’t a one-off and all forces and PCCs have committed to ensure we build upon the successes of earlier this month
My new police and crime plan has been constructed by listening to you. You told me what you want to see from your police service and that is what will be delivered. Making Wiltshire Safer provides the framework with which we will tackle the issues which matter to you and ensures my office, Wiltshire Police, and our partners, will not lose momentum on this.