Twenty arrested as Wiltshire Police takes part in regional crackdown on drugs
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Wiltshire Police arrested 20 people, as well as seizing cash, drugs and weapons, as part of Operation Scorpion.
Operation Scorpion is a regional crackdown on drug dealing, with the five police forces from across the South West working together and with partners to tackle this type of criminality.
We are urging our communities to have the confidence to report information to us, or anonymously to Crimestoppers, so we can continue to take action.
Twenty people have been arrested, as well as drugs, cash and weapons seized, in a Wiltshire Police operation coordinated to launch a new regional crackdown on drug dealing.
The five police forces across the South West have combined their operational powers to tackle cross border drugs supply and criminal activity with a new initiative which has been named Operation Scorpion.
Watch this video to hear from Wiltshire's Chief Constable Kier Pritchard and see some of the activity which has taken place across the county.
Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Police, alongside their respective offices of Police and Crime Commissioners, the British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) and the charity Crimestoppers, set aside regional boundaries, just as criminals engaging in drugs activity do, to harness their collective power and disrupt the South West drugs market, dismantling drugs supply networks and arresting those who profit from them.
Earlier this month (during the week commencing 7 March) officers from teams across Wiltshire Police carried out activity as part of National County Lines Intensification Week, led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre.
They used a range of tactics, including enhanced monitoring of the road and transport networks, increased high visibility patrols in areas of high demand, carrying out warrants at addresses used for drug dealing and welfare checks on vulnerable people.
They worked with colleagues at various partner agencies, local authorities and charities, to disrupt drugs activity, dismantle drugs supply networks and arrest those who profit from them.
Over the course of the week in Wiltshire:
20 people were arrested
Ten warrants were executed
24 vehicles were stopped
Seven drugs lines were shut down
Approximately £12,500 worth of cash seized
Up to £3,000 worth of drugs were seized
42 vulnerability checks were completed
11 safeguarding referrals were made and 200 drug users were contacted signposting them to partner support agencies.
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, from Wiltshire Police, appealed to members of the public to help the police by having the confidence to report their concerns or information about drug dealing.
He said: “Not only are these criminals selling drugs to vulnerable drug users, creating a cycle of misery and knock-on criminality which impacts the whole of society, but they also bring with them huge consequences for our local communities. There is associated violence, intimidation, anti-social behaviour and the exploitation of young people who find themselves coerced or drawn into these dangerous and predatory gangs.
“We all have an important role to play in helping to keep the South West clear of drugs. You are our eyes and ears, and if you have information about drugs activity in your area, then we would urge you to tell the police about this. You can do this by either calling the police directly or by contacting Crimestoppers.
“Information and intelligence from our communities is key and, if you report your concerns, then we will take action.”
Speaking on behalf of the five regional police forces, Assistant Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Mark Cooper explained how Operation Scorpion would enhance the police response to the supply and distribution of drugs.
He said: “This operation is about combining the resources, intelligence and enforcement powers of all the police forces across the South West to create a “ring of steel” against organised criminals looking to cause harm in this part of the country.
“We know that those who supply and distribute illegal drugs operate in a borderless way, creating complex networks of drugs lines in our towns and cities, and we need to mirror that if we are going to be successful in taking a strong and robust stance against this sort of criminality.
“This operation is sending a clear message to those organised crime groups out there – the police forces in this region are working together and we will find you, we will follow you and we won’t stop until we have made sure you are brought to justice.”
You can read more about the regional operation here.
If you have information about drug dealing or suspicious activity in your community please report it to us.
No matter how small the piece of information is, it will be recorded and used to build up a bigger intelligence picture that officers can then act on.
Call us on 101 - all information is held securely and your name will not be used in evidence. Or if you prefer, ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. You can also report it online by going to our website.