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Drug harm was placed on the curriculum for young people across the county for the fifth week of Northamptonshire Police’s 2023 three-month Matters of Priority campaign which focused on education and engagement.
Between February 6-12, special emphasis was placed on raising awareness of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and the tactics used by organised gangs to entice young people into their dangerous world.
Led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Rogers, our neighbourhood policing teams were at the forefront of the activity which started on Monday (February 6) with a visit to Moulton College in Northampton.
The visit was organised in partnership with the Daventry Rural North Neighbourhood Policing and Moulton College to raise awareness and reinforce the message that illegal substances will not be tolerated on the site.
With the support of two drug detection sniffer dogs and their handlers from K9 Deployment - funded by the college – 800 students took part in the operation in the sports hall, which was followed by a sweep of the site by the dogs.
The dogs detected cannabis grinders with cannabis residue in two of the student’s bags. They were dealt with by the college and their parents informed. During the afternoon session, the dog handlers gave a presentation to those studying the Animal Handling course.
On Wednesday (February 8), DCI Rogers answered questions on a range of topics from the public in a dedicated drug harm Q&A session on the Force’s Instagram account. These related to the use of cannabis, preventative advice around gangs and county lines and what action the Force is taking against those committing drug-related crimes.
Throughout the week, Detective Constable Neil Carr visited eight schools and spoke to more than 2,500 Year 7 and Year 8 students in North Northamptonshire to raise awareness of how criminals operate and recruit young people to help them recognise the signs of exploitation.
In addition to this, members of the neighbourhood policing team visited pupils at Corby Old Village Primary School to talk about staying safe. As part of the visit, the youngsters were also given the opportunity to check out one of the Force’s police cars.
Neighbourhood policing teams also took part in high-visibility patrols as well held drop-in sessions on the Force’s Beat Bus for residents to get advice/information as well as raise their concerns about drug harm within their communities.
DCI Rogers said: “Prevention and intervention is a key part of tackling drug harm within our communities, which is why I put special emphasis on education and engagement as part of my week of action.
“We know that there are gangs who are operating in our county that prey on our children and young people, with the sole aim to exploit them by enticing them into their world of violence and drugs.
“It is therefore imperative to raise awareness of the risks and tactics used by organised gangs, and by collaborating with schools and colleges, we can speak directly with students to help them recognise the signs of exploitation and provide them with the tools of what to do if they find themselves in that position.
“The feedback from the schools has been fantastic, but more importantly the sessions and workshops delivered by DC Neil Carr and our neighbourhood policing teams have been well received by the students.”
As with all our work, officers are reliant on the public reporting any concerns they have to us. If you have concerns about drug dealing, or someone becoming drawn into gang culture, please call us on 101, or use our online form.
You can also pass any concerns on to Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or Fearless.org – which enables young people aged 11-17 years old to pass on information about crime anonymously.