05:27PM, Thursday 02 July 2020
Thames Valley Police officers have seized guns, drugs and more than £300,000 in cash as part of the UK's biggest ever operation cracking down on organised crime.
Over the past three months, officers across the Thames Valley have arrested 20 people for offences including drugs supply and money laundering. Four have been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
The arrests and seizures are the Thames Valley Police’s contribution to the country’s biggest law enforcement operation targeting organised crime, which was headed by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.
Across the entire South East, 45 arrests have been made, 86kg of drugs and £3.1million in cash have been seized by officers as part of ‘Operation Venetic’.
Detective Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, head of specialist operations for Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and will disrupt it wherever we can.
"Our ongoing commitment through our Stronghold campaign means that we will work in partnership with the NCA and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit as well as other police forces and partner agencies to target this type of criminality and also safeguard anyone we find who has been exploited.
“We know how much serious and organised crime and particularly the distribution and sale of drugs impacts on our communities and the harm it does to people across the Thames Valley.
“This joint work has been hugely successful in seizing money, drugs and firearms, disrupting drug dealing operations, but we will not stop there, we will continue to take action to stop those who seek to make a profit from crime and cause harm to our communities.”
During this operation, the NCA has been working with every organised crime unit and police force in the country to conduct a series of operations bringing down organised crime.
Until today (Thursday), details of these operations have been withheld to ensure their success.
Police have been monitoring thousands of criminals' phone handsets after an international law enforcement team cracked the encryption on secure mobile phone instant messaging service EncroChat.
Cracking this encryption has enabled officers to conduct a series of operations targeting prominent criminals.
Assistant Chief Constable Pete O’Doherty, South East regional lead for counter terrorism and organised crime, said: “Operation Venetic, led by the National Crime Agency, has been a success due to the partnership working involved across all of policing, both in the UK and abroad.
“The operations carried out across the South East region would not have been possible without our local police forces involvement and support.
“These criminals may have felt untouchable, using a system they thought was under the radar of law enforcement, but this technology is now being used against them.
“A committed joint objective by law enforcement across the country will be to continue to keep one step ahead of these criminals."