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Maidenhead police safeguard child modern slavery victim during knife crime operation

Police officers in Maidenhead seized £6,000-worth of drugs, several weapons and safeguarded a child who was a victim of modern slavery as part of a national operation.

Operation Sceptre was a national week-long crack down on knife crime, in which officers in Maidenhead and Windsor took part in a week of action from Monday, November 9 to Sunday, November 15.

During the operation, 88 stop and searches were carried out in Maidenhead, with 17 resulting in positive outcomes for officers by leading to drugs and weapons being located.

In total, £6,000-worth of drugs including heroin, crack cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and cannabis were recovered, as well as several weapons. A total of 24 arrests were made as a result.

Police Sergeant Ryan Powell said: “We see patterns are consistent in public spaces like parks, town centres and open rural landscapes.

“Quite often they are the most fervent areas of knife crime and drug offences, that’s why we target them.”

As well as finding drugs and weapons, officers also identified a child who was a victim of modern-day slavery and referred to them the National Crime Agency. Two other young adults were also referred to the Reading FC Club Divert programme aimed at supporting young people who are on the cusp of criminality.

PS Powell added: “Modern slavery and knife crime are often closely related to county drug lines, children are being groomed, running drugs in exchange for nice clothes, expensive phones, electric scooters and various other things when they are far too young to comprehend the consequences of their actions.

“Fortunately it’s not too prevalent.”

Chief Inspector James Senior, Deputy Commander for the Royal Borough, said: “This week of action demonstrates that people are still carrying knives and it is a priority for all officers across the borough to locate these weapons and take them off the streets.

“Whilst knife crime is down overall in the borough, we recognise there is more work to do and the community should expect to see similar activity across the borough on a regular basis.”

If you have any concerns that those around you may be carrying knives, call 101, report it online at www.thamesvalley.police.uk or anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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