It’s a Matter of Priority – drug harm week of action hailed a success
Main article content
The first week of Northamptonshire Police’s 2023 three-month Matters of Priority campaign has been hailed a success following a week of intensified activity focusing on drug harm.
Between January 9-15, officers from across the county took part in a variety of activities from education and engagement through to enforcement as the Force firmly put the first of its four matters of priority back in the spotlight.
Led by Chief Inspector James Willis, the first week of the campaign focused on drug harm, the crimes linked to those who supply or use illicit substances and the detrimental effects which drugs have on our communities.
Our neighbourhood policing teams were at the forefront of the activity with more than 1,000 students reached through presentation and talks at schools and various vulnerability visits to those susceptible of cuckooing and being targeted by county line gangs.
In addition to this, the neighbourhood policing teams in Wellingborough and Northampton, executed warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which resulted in four cannabis factories being dismantled and several suspects being charged.
To conclude the activity, the Daventry and South Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Policing Team teamed up with licensees for a special operation aimed at stopping drug use on licensed premises across the area.
Funded by the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, a specialist drug search dog and handler joined the policing team on Friday, January 13, to visit nine licensed premises in Daventry, Towcester and Brackley. This resulted in several positive stop-searches and cannabis seizures across all three towns.
Chief Inspector Willis said: “By increasing our visibility and visits to licensed premises, we are making it harder for those involved in the supply of drugs in our towns and villages.
“Having the resources available to us was invaluable to the operation, and we must thank the OPFCC for their support in providing the funding for the specialist drugs dog and handler. As a result of being able to take the dog into the licensed premises, we seized a small amount of Cannabis.
“Detecting and preventing the use and sale of illegal drugs in our communities is a key part of our work, and it was great to speak with people during this operation to explain what we were doing and why – the general feedback we had from the public, patrons and landlords was positive.”
The Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets also supported the week of action, helping to deliver more than 400 leaflets to several hotspot areas in Northampton, Wellingborough, and Kettering.
During the week of action, officers submitted more than 70 intelligence logs including 11 from the independent charity Crimestoppers and conducted 31 stop searches which resulted in 11 Class A and Class B drugs recovered.
More than £2,400 was seized along with 13 mobile phones, 14 items associated with Class B drug usage, a quantity of Class A drugs and hundreds of Cannabis plants recovered from four properties.
Chief Inspector Willis added: “This was a cracking start to our latest phase of activity. The results are still coming in, and I fully expect all the intelligence which was generated to be acted upon. I’d like to thank the public for their assistance and reassure them that our efforts don’t stop here.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that he was pleased to be able to support this operation.
He said: “I know that the perception of drug use is a major concern to people across all our communities, so I was very pleased to be able to fund the use of a specially trained dog as part of this week of activity.
“My team and Northamptonshire Police are working hard to improve the safety of the night-time economy, and so it was particularly important to me to see how this work could be taken forward in partnership with licensees. The results speak for themselves, and I look forward to seeing more activity like this in other towns over the coming months.”
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