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Operation Scorpion 7: Smashing the gangs and protecting the vulnerable

Last week, the seventh phase of Operation Scorpion, the drugs operation which involves all five south west Police and Crime Commissioners, their respective police forces, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and other key partners including British Transport Police, took place across the region.

The latest iteration of this operation, which aims to make the region a hostile environment for illegal drugs, concentrated on drug supply and the associated harms. The three aims for this phase were:

  1. To demonstrate a ‘Ring of Steel’ around the south west, making it clear that drug gangs and associated crime will be targeted and removed from the region.
  2. To focus on visible street dealing by disrupting those who cause harm in communities through visible drug dealing and the associated crime.
  3. To work with the public and ask them to submit any intelligence gathering which may assist in identifying and tacking those responsible for causing drug related harm to communities.

During the week of action – which coincided with the national County Lines Intensification Week - I saw first-hand the extent of the painstaking work which goes into tackling these crimes. From early intervention with charities commissioned by my office, to the robust enforcement from Dorset Police, the breadth of the work is far-reaching and only makes me more determined to ensure this work to disrupt the gangs and smash incoming drug networks continues apace.

The start of the week welcomed charity Escapeline, who are commissioned by my office, and help young people to stay safe by educating them about child exploitation and teaching them protective strategies. CEO Lisa, and youth mentor, Rhys, had us all captivated by their experiences – from being in schools with young people and in Rhys’s case, his own harrowing lived experience. Impressively eloquent and courageous, Rhys gave a direct and factual account of his life exposed to illegal drugs, dealing, county lines and the violence and devastation which goes along with it. His impactful and inspiring insight is something I believe many more people need to hear and his view that we need a stronger approach to drugs in this country is one I vehemently agree with.

I also joined officers throughout the week as they seized drugs, stopped vehicles, and enacted warrants across Dorset. I visited custody, joined officers as they raided properties, and viewed first-hand the inside of drugs houses – or ‘bandos’ as they are referred to. The work by the Force was non-stop and yielded some truly fantastic results. It was great to see hotspot patrols in action as well, with officers in Bournemouth arresting a potential dealer during my time with them. This was a real example of the action police take daily in our communities across Dorset. Of course, the work of the Force goes way beyond the door banging and arrests, it enables vulnerable people in our community to be protected, it returns stolen goods to businesses, and I hope reassures you, the public, that action will be taken and your reports to the police really matter.

I know the impact illegal drugs have on our communities in Dorset and being able to see this first-hand during this week of action, reinforced my commitment to tackling the destruction these harmful substances create. The ripple effect goes way beyond the people directly involved in dealing. Shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, theft, and vehicle crime are just some of the offences linked to drugs and drug-related crime and I want it to stop. That’s why, alongside the robust action taken by officers during our week of action, we reiterated our ongoing call for people to report their intelligence. Without the vital information provided by you, the people of Dorset, the results we recorded might not have been possible.

During the week of action in Dorset there were:

  • 37 arrests
  • 15 warrants executed
  • £77,800 worth of drugs seized – both Class A and Class B
  • £18,000 cash seized from various addresses
  • 14 adults and five children safeguarded
  • 45 stop searches conducted
  • Hotspot patrols throughout Dorset carried out

Across the south west, all five PCCs stand together in demonstration of the ‘ring of steel’. Our message is clear; drug gangs and those intent on bringing illegal drugs to the south west will be targeted and removed. The police will find you; they will follow you and won’t stop until they’ve got you. We are united in our mission to drive drugs out of our communities, making Dorset and the south west a safer place to be. We cannot do that without the ongoing help of the public though. We need you to continue reporting your intelligence, tell us what’s happening where you live and work. Without these vital pieces of information, the job of cracking these drug gangs and protecting vulnerable people is harder. Help the police continue to make Dorset #NoPlaceForDrugs.

Finally, I would like to thank all the officers, staff and volunteers who were involved in yet another successful Operation Scorpion. I look forward to continuing the work with our neighbouring forces – targeting criminality, taking drugs off our streets, protecting the vulnerable, smashing county lines and putting a ring of steel around the south west.

David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner


How to report:

Speak to independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 or use their non-traceable form online.

You can also use the StreetSafe app, a service which allows you to report safety concerns in public places without giving your name, so it is also anonymous.

Or you can report information and intelligence to police online at or call the Force on 101.


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