Op Velocity – tackling class A drug dealing
Velocity is the name Suffolk Constabulary has given to our operation to tackle drug dealing at a countywide level with our partners, so that there is joint impetus on addressing the problem from a long term perspective. Here are some success stories the force has had in bringing class A drug dealers as well as those who exploit the vulnerable to justice.
Suffolk Constabulary has taken part in a national week of action against the on-going threat of County Lines and drug dealing.
During the week, Suffolk Constabulary along with other forces conducted arrests and warrants, organising dedicated patrols, gathering intelligence across the county to ensure that the force continues to make Suffolk a hostile environment for criminals to operate in.
As part of the week of action officers made 29 arrests including offences for possession with intent to supply drugs.
Additionally, the force conducted 82 welfare and safeguarding visits to a number of properties. These locations have historically been vulnerable to the problems of ‘cuckooing’ where drug dealers befriend or extort a vulnerable person and takes over their property to sell drugs from. Over 350 wraps of a variety of drugs were recovered, around £12,700 in cash was also seized and 10 weapons seized.
Officers also conducted engagement visits to over 60 schools in covid-safe environments to deliver presentations and facilitate discussions with pupils on educating them on the dangers of drugs and in some cases these were done remotely.
Some of the highlights included: In Ipswich a 23 year old male was arrested on Cemetery Road. Following a search he was found to be in possession of suspected cannabis, £635 in cash and a knife. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and released under investigation.
Elsewhere in Ipswich, three people were arrested for being concerned in the supply of Class A. a large amount of cash thought to be in the region of £3,00 to £5,000 was recovered, as well as three phones and a quantity of suspected class A drugs. An 18 year old male, a 17 year old male were both arrested and will answer bail on 14 June, while a 33 year old woman was released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Police arrested two males in Newmarket on 21 May when a vehicle was stopped and a search conducted. A search of the vehicle recovered a tennis ball contained a number of suspected class A drugs. A 41 year old man and a 26 year old man were both arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
In Lowestoft four people were arrested on suspicion with intent to supply following the recovery of suspected cannabis and class A drugs, together with a significant amount of cash and several mobile phones. A 51 year old woman, a 44 year old man, a 27 year old man and a 26 year old man were all arrested and subsequently released under investigation.
Chief Supt Marina Ericson said: "This week of action is another demonstration of how determined we are to root out the scourge of drugs from our communities.
“This week saw more dedicated activity, but it is important to recognise that that our work to address the issue of ‘county lines’ and drug supply is something we tackle all year round.
“We have our three proactive Sentinel teams based across the county who tackle serious and organised criminal activity, much of which is linked to drug trafficking offences. Additionally, with our Serious Crime Disruption Teams, Operation Scorpion teams and locally based officers, we are determined to stay as proactive as possible and conducting regular intelligence led operations linked to illegal drug trafficking.”
“Enforcement by police alone will not be enough to solve drug crime and we cannot arrest our way out of the issue. Drug crime has links to knife and other violent and gang related offences and is complex social problem requiring input and action by other partners. Only by this approach can the root causes and the long-term effects be addressed. “
"We want to help those vulnerable members of the community, who get caught-up in this kind of activity to support their habit and break the cycle. It is about ensuring the next generation can grow up in a safe county without fear of violence or intimidation.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: "I applaud the continued focus of the Constabulary in stamping out serious and organised criminal activity in the county, this week of action shows this determination is paying dividends.
“I have been hugely impressed by the work of the relatively new Sentinel teams whose sole purpose is to focus on these most serious criminals and rid our county of these lawless individuals. Such people do enormous harm to our communities and catching them and prosecuting them is exactly what the public wants.
“My own role as commissioner of services to support victims plays an important part in making sure vulnerable victims of county lines crimes are appropriately cared for and I will do all I can to ensure this important work continues.
"This week of action has highlighted the good work being carried out by the Constabulary and I’d like to say well done to all involved.”
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs within the UK. The gang establishes a drug market in a rural town, with origins to an urban city location with mobile phones frequently used to facilitate the drug deals. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
We all have a role to play in keeping our local areas safe from drug dealing, and associated gang exploitation and violence.
If you suspect drug dealing is taking place or you are concerned that a young person or vulnerable adult may have been targeted by an organised crime group, please tell us. You don’t have to be certain, just concerned.
Call us on 101 or if you prefer you can contact Crimestoppers to report anonymously – online or by calling 0800 555 111.
If someone is in immediate danger or a crime is taking place you should always dial 999.
The Sentinels proactive work is currently featured in a 10 part documentary called ‘Fast Justice’ on the Dave channel at 6pm every Sunday.
Last week’s activity (17 – 23 May) was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre set up by the National Crime Agency and NPCC