05:32PM, Friday 07 December 2018
A month long Thames Valley Police (TVP) operation has seen 21 people arrested for drug offences.
‘Operation Lemondrop’, which started in November and forms part of its Stronghold campaign, focused on drug exploitation and has resulted in officers from TVP’s Windsor and Maidenhead Local Policing Area carrying out a number of activities including arrests and engaging with schools.
A series of search warrants were also executed and cash, Class A and Class B drugs were seized, while a number of investigations are ongoing in connection with the arrests. The operation also carried out 14 joint knife and drugs sweeps.
Plain clothed officers patrolled areas where the force had intelligence of drug dealing and use.
Further activity was undertaken to raise awareness of drugs exploitation, which is where young and vulnerable people are targeted by organised criminals to deal drugs or act as couriers.
Officers carried out visits to schools to engage with pupils and teachers to help them to spot the signs of someone who might be in danger of being exploited. This saw officers speaking to over 1,500 children.
They also engaged with the public along with support from the Crimestoppers advertisement van, to make sure that people can spot the signs of exploitation and how they can report it.
This operation also utilised partnerships by working with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council, the homeless shelter Frogmore Court, immigration services, the Cadets and the Street Angels.
Superintendent Colin Hudson, LPA commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, said: “The problem solving team for Windsor and Maidenhead have, for the last month, carried out an intensified policing operation addressing the problems associated with drug exploitation and county lines.
“This has involved intelligence gathering, concentrated deployment of resources, plus enforcement and prevention measures targeting problem areas and people. A dedicated team of officers has been working closely with local partners and the community.
“ I am very pleased to say that the results have been impressive, with a significant number of arrests, remands and investigations. I have no doubt that Windsor and Maidenhead is today safer as a result and that the lessons learned will serve the community well in the future.”
Inspector Mike Darrah, who is the problem solving and safeguarding Inspector for Windsor and Maidenhead, said: “This was an intelligence led operation into tackling all types of exploitation.
“We need the public to tell us when they are concerned that someone is being exploited, but also the need for general intelligence around drug supply and exploitation.
“It is very important that we all look out for neighbours, friends, families and alerting policing if you are concerned, or feel they are being exploited, and that we the police will always take robust immediate action to safeguarding individuals and bring those responsible to justice.”
Anyone with information should report it by calling 101, alternatively report anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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