Twenty-five arrests, eight weapons seized and 11 people safeguarded during week of action
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More than 5kg in drugs have been seized after local officers completed a national week of action to tackle county lines criminality.
From 3 October, officers took part in a week-long intensification period known nationally as County Lines Intensification Week (CLIW).
By Monday (10 October) officers seized over 5kg of cocaine, nearly 18 grams of crack cocaine, 10.5 grams of heroin, over 1,300 cannabis plants, two machetes, three knives, a knuckle duster and two batons.
Twenty-five arrests were made within Staffordshire, with six individuals being remanded into custody ahead of future court appearances.
Police forces across the UK have closed 172 county lines used by criminals to distribute drugs across the county. The previous intensification week saw 104 lines closed.
Over 1,350 people have been arrested nationally, with over £2.7 million worth of drugs seized across the seven-day period.
This was made possible by dedicated officers who worked tirelessly to compile covert intelligence and disrupt those responsible - resulting in three major drug lines being stopped.
Superintendent Dan Ison, Head of the Major and Organised Crime team, said: “As a result of the week of action, we have removed 25% of the active lines within our force, which is a significant achievement in such a short space of time.
“Often children and those that are vulnerable are used to sell the substances on behalf of organised crime groups and as such county lines is cancerous and is responsible for causing deep harm to many shire forces such as ours.
“Going forwards, we and our partners are committed to tackling this criminality through reducing demand and targeting crime groups that are responsible, ensuring that we protect our most vulnerable and make Staffordshire a safe place for our communities.”
The intensification period saw the force work closely with partners to safeguard 11 vulnerable people from county lines activity.
Drug groups will target vulnerable members of the community and use them to traffic drugs after deals are negotiated remotely, usually through a mobile or ‘line’.
They often target young people who may be coerced into this criminality through drug use, debt, grooming, threats or violence. They are often targeted due to financial debt and mental health problems, usually involving people who are prone to missing episodes, being known to the care system and those who may use drugs themselves.
(Above: Drugs and weapons seized during the intensification period)
Part of the intensification period saw officers deliver educational sessions to over 950 children and 490 adults in various schools and care homes across the county, including leaflet drops to help people spot the signs of exploitation and signpost those at-risk to the relevant support groups.
Since the latest CLIW, the force has seen a decrease in the number of county lines operating in Staffordshire.
Over the last three years, this number has continued to decrease as a result of these intensification periods and the day-to-day work of officers in the force.
Dedicated disruption teams, who are based both in the north and south of the region, are continuing their efforts to find those responsible and deliver the right support to those at a risk of exploitation.
If you’re concerned about drug-related crime in your area or think someone may be a victim of drug exploitation, please call us on 101.
If it's an emergency, please call 999. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000.