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Collaborative action impacts drugs gangs across the South West

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Police across the South West seized drugs and thousands of pounds worth of cash during the latest stage of Operation Scorpion.

A collaboration between police forces in Dorset, Devon & Cornwall, Avon & Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, their respective Police and Crime Commissioners, British Transport Police, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU), and the charity Crimestoppers, Operation Scorpion focuses on pooling resources to combat drug supply in the region to make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.

Police across the South West have actively engaged in this latest stage of Operation Scorpion, intensifying efforts to dismantle drug supply networks and create an inhospitable environment for criminals. Through collaborative and targeted initiatives, the aim was to support local communities in the South West, working with them to tackle drug related activity across the region and make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.

The seventh phase of Operation Scorpion seamlessly aligned with the National County Lines Intensification Week, spanning from March 4, 2024, to March 10, 2024. The focus of this phase was targeting visible street dealing and the impact of drug activity within our local communities, highlighting the importance of intelligence from local people to help police support communities and to demonstrate the metaphoric ring of steel around the South West – making it harder for criminals to cross borders in the South West to conduct crime.

During the week police cracked down on drugs activities through a multifaceted approach including targeted warrant executions, visible policing in hotspot areas, address checks known to have been linked to cuckooing, patrols along the travel networks of the South West and robust efforts to safeguard vulnerable individuals.

Using invaluable community intelligence, forces executed targeted enforcement activities, strategically disrupting individuals who exploit and profit from the harmful impact drugs have on local communities. This collaborative initiative demonstrates the relentless shared commitment to protect communities against those determined to bring harm.

Neil Corrigan, Assistant Chief Constable of Dorset Police, representing the five forces said: “This was a large operation involving both uniform and plain clothes officers across the region to disrupt drug activity and support local communities.

“The activity carried out as part of Operation Scorpion was centred on the intelligence and information received from local communities about individuals involved in drug supply.

“Using information reported to police and CrimeStoppers, forces were able to build up a picture of what illegal activity was happening and use the intelligence to inform how and where we would target our operational activity.

“I would like to thank the public for the information they have provided and reinforce the importance of community intelligence to the success of operations like this. Please continue to contact us with information and report any concerns you may have, whether in relation to drug activity, vulnerable people being exploited or any other suspicious activity and help us make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford said: “It was a privilege to go out and watch our brave police in action, putting themselves in harm’s way to apprehend people who make our communities less safe. That this was part of a coordinated week of action across the South West demonstrates our commitment to making the South West a hostile environment for illegal drug use and exploitation.

Operation Scorpion is a week of enforcement, and importantly, a week of awareness raising and prevention. We seek to encourage those who live in our neighbourhoods to report any concerns they have about drug activity so that we can take the power back from people engaged in drug related crime and create safer environments for all.”

Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity should report it to their local police service online or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively you can pass information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 or you can use their non-traceable online form. Contact will remain 100% anonymous. Always.

They will never ask for a name or contact details and the phone call or online report will never be traced. If the information supplied leads to an arrest and charge, there could be a cash reward of up to £1,000.