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Hampshire Police have carried out a big anti drugs operation in and around Southampton to disrupt the supply of class A drugs into the city.
Operation Alcatraz was run yesterday (Wednesday, September 26) as part of Operation Fortress, a sustained campaign to shield communities from drug-related violence.
Around 150 police officers and staff from across several departments of the force as well as British Transport Police (BTP) and the UK Border Agency were involved with support from Southampton City Council.
During the afternoon, officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police’s joint Roads Policing unit patrolled the main arterial routes into the city using intelligence and Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to target criminals using the road network.
Detectives from the Operation Fortress team based at Hulse Road carried out operations in the city centre.
They were supported by BTP officers at Southampton Central and Parkway train stations targeting offenders using inbound trains from London.
The results so far:
· Six people were arrested on suspicion of offences including possession with intent to supply, possession of cannabis and money laundering
· 34 people were detained on the street for drug searches
· Seven people received cannabis warnings
· More than 45 vehicles were stopped in total
· Nine vehicles were seized and taken of the roads for offences including no tax and no insurance
· A quantity of class A drugs were seized and police conducted a number of house searches.
Later in the evening, officers from Southampton’s Licensing team spoke with clubbers at venues around London Road to let them know about Operation Fortress and the consequences and implications of taking and dealing drugs.
No hiding place
Superintendent Scott Chilton who led Operation Alcatraz said:
“I’m very pleased with our results which clearly demonstrate that Southampton is a hostile place for anyone intent on bringing drugs and violence into the city. This was a complex and intricate operation that involved around 150 officers and staff from across the force and from our partners in the British Transport Police, the UK Border Agency and Southampton City Council. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in planning and executing this operation and particularly the public for their support.
We all understand and appreciate just how devastating drugs and the crimes associated with them can be both to individuals, their families and the wider community. Operation Fortress reduces this harm and helps rebuild communities free from the fear of drugs. We will continue seek out and convict those individuals who choose to supply drugs. There will be no hiding place.”
Superintendent Jason Bunyard, of British Transport Police, said:
“Our aim is to listen to what the community wants from us and act on their concerns. In this instance, drug carrying and dealing on the railway in Southampton was identified as being of concern to local people and this operation with Hampshire Constabulary demonstrates the commitment of the police to addressing this. Hopefully the operation will serve as a strong reminder of the fact that if you intend to use the railways to transport drugs we will look to arrest you and bring you to justice.”
Timothy Reichardt, UK Border Agency assistant director for Hampshire, said:
“This was a large scale operation to tackle the drugs trade in Southampton and shows that results can be achieved by working together. We work closely with Hampshire police to tackle illegal immigration and immigration crime. When someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we take action to remove them.”
If you are concerned about drug dealing or drug-related violence where you live, you can speak to the Operation Fortress team in confidence. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.