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Taking a tough approach to make south west #NoPlaceForDrugs

This week, the results of the latest phase of Operation Scorpion have been published. The most recent iteration of this vital campaign took place earlier this month, the eighth instalment of the regional operation to smash the drugs gangs bringing illegal substances into the south west.

I want to begin by thanking everyone involved in Operation Scorpion 8. In Dorset, the force returned another set of really good results. These, coupled with the success across the region, shows the real value of robust action, crucial community intelligence and enforcing the ring of steel around the south west.

Thanks to the intensive joint working between the five police forces – Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset, Gloucester and Wiltshire - along with the respective PCCs, British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the independent charity Crimestoppers, we have once again seen the effectiveness and potential of this crucial partnership.

From putting in place effective stop and search processes, arrests being made, knives and offensive weapons confiscated, drug-money seized, significant amounts of illegal drugs seized and importantly for me, mobile phones taken which disrupts further engagement, officers worked relentlessly to target criminality, take drugs off our streets, and protect the vulnerable.

Figures show that across the region there were:

  • 64 arrests
  • £152,173 worth of drugs seized
  • £198,088 cash seized
  • 29 weapons were seized
  • 28 vulnerable people safeguarded
  • As well as a quantity of clothing, motorbikes and high value cars were also seized

In Dorset, officers worked intensively during the week of action, beginning with an intelligence-led operation which shut down a county line operating in the Bournemouth town centre area. This work resulted in the arrest of three men found with a mobile phone used to conduct illegal drug deals, as well as a large quantity of drugs. I was also pleased to join officers in Bournemouth during this week and see first-hand the work carried out on foot patrol targeting drug dealing in the Lower Gardens and town centre. I know how important it is for the public to see officers tackling this crime, and I was glad to have the opportunity to see this in action.

The Force also conducted safeguarding visits at the homes of vulnerable adults and victims of cuckooing. Twenty stop searches were conducted and nine people were arrested, resulting in the seizure of seven knives, two axes, £5,000 in cash, 17 mobile phones and a significant amount of heroin and cocaine. The mobile phones and the information stored in them are key to catching criminals further up the chain of supply and that’s what we all want to achieve; we all want to get to those at the top of the chain and stop organised crime groups from peddling their miserable trade in our county and across the south west.

Of course, while robust enforcement is key, Operation Scorpion is also about safeguarding the vulnerable people pulled into the world of illegal drugs and the misery that goes along with it. That’s why intelligence provided by the community is so important. It cannot be emphasised enough how vital it is to have the reports the public provide. Each one provides a different piece of the puzzle which enables Dorset Police to target their resources to where they are most needed.

Your information, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, could be the vital bit of intelligence the Force needs to shut down a county line and in turn tackle the offences such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour we know are linked to the scourge of illegal drugs. I know the impact these harmful offences have on our communities in Dorset, and I am determined the crucial work to tackle the destruction these harmful substances create continues. That’s why I’m once again repeating the call for people to report their intelligence. It really does make a difference.

I am clear; Operation Scorpion will keep on keeping on. It will be absolutely relentless in its pursuit of crime and will not stop until we make our county and the whole of the south west region #NoPlaceForDrugs.

David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

How to report

Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity in Dorset should report it to Dorset Police online service online here or by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency or if anyone is in immediate danger.

Your information will be treated in confidence, but of you prefer to report anonymously please do so through Crimestoppers. You can call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 or you can use the non-traceable online form here  

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