Last week marked the second week of intensification targeting illegal drug supply and drug crime across the South West.
Op Scorpion is a week of action involving police forces from Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, working with Police and Crime Commissioners, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and CrimeStoppers.
We joined colleagues across the region to carry out operations to disrupt drug supply and prevent drug crime, alongside carrying out preventative, educational and engagement work within communities.
Here in Avon and Somerset there were almost 700 acts of disruption carried out, including:
- 17 arrests for drug-related offences, including drug importation and drug driving
- 12 warrants in relation to properties and people linked to drug supply
- Two county lines disrupted
- Thousands of pounds worth of class A drugs and cannabis, including cannabis plants, seized
- 147 visits or safeguarding checks to the addresses of vulnerable people identified through intelligence gathered by Avon and Somerset Police with the support of partners and the public
- 45 educational visits to schools to engage with young people and teachers about drug harm and exploitation as well as a number of other community focused engagement activities such as pop-up stands and talk to us events at local community centres
Additional patrols and preventative operations including drug and weapon sweeps in areas of high demand for drug dealing or misuse were also carried out.
Several intelligence reports received during the week will now be used to help us better direct resources going forward and to safeguard vulnerable people.
Central to the success of the week was the close partnership working with some of our local partners and agencies including housing, local authorities, outreach workers and local support services.
Avon and Somerset’s work contributed to a South West regional total of 127 drug-related arrests, over £600,000 worth of suspected drugs seized (street value), and over 200 vulnerable children and adults safeguarded.
Our Force Lead for Op Scorpion, Superintendent Steve Kendall, said:
“I’m very proud of everything that our officers and partners achieved last week, whilst also managing incredibly high demand on our response teams. They have run an incredibly successful, targeted, approach to tackling drug crime in our local communities, using intelligence from members of the public to make successful arrests and prevent further harm, visiting vulnerable people and working with partners to safeguard them against exploitation and drug misuse.
“The results speak for themselves, and we’ve had some great engagement from people living in communities affected by drug crime who have been pleased to see our officers taking action in their local neighbourhoods.
“It’s important to stress that our work doesn’t end here. Our officers are constantly using information and reports to prevent and disrupt drug crime within our force area, and we encourage anyone who is affected by it to get in touch and report it. Whilst you may not see immediate action, your information enables our officers to achieve the results we have this week, and throughout the year.”
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, said:
“Our Deputy PCC Claire Hiscott had the pleasure of joining some of our officers on their operations this week and seeing first-hand the great work they are doing to protect our communities from drug crime. Collectively with colleagues across the South West, we are sending a strong message to both criminals and our communities that we are intent on making the South West no place for drugs.
“The first priority in my Police and Crime Plan is preventing and fighting crime and, not only does this include important enforcement activity, but also education work to make our communities a safer place.”
But it is not over. Our work on tackling drug supply, misuse and harm in our local communities continues. We urge anyone with any information or concerns about illegal drug activity to report it to the us by calling 101 or reporting online at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk.
You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their Anonymous Online Form.
No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.