More than £40,000 has been seized and 32 arrests have been made in a multi-police force operation in Kent, London and Essex to tackle drug supply and associated violent crime.
Yesterday (July 22), officers from the Met worked alongside colleagues Kent, Essex and British Transport Police in a joint operation to apprehend violent criminals using the roads and rail networks to transport drugs in and out of the three areas,
A range of officers from the Met were involved, including Operation Venice, the Violent Crime Taskforce, South East Violence Suppression Unit, Dogs Support Unit, Roads and Transport Policing Command, as well as Specialist Crime officers.
British Transport Police also conducted intelligence-led patrols on the trains in and out of London as well as transport hubs at key routes as part of the operation, to target those using the rail network to transport drugs.
Officers also used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras at fixed sites around the Dartford Crossing, and targeted vehicles believed to be linked to violent crime.
The operation resulted in:
– 32 arrests for offences including possession of an offensive weapon, being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and drug driving.
– Seven offensive weapons recovered
– More than £40,000 cash seized
– 14 vehicles seized for motoring offences and 3 stolen vehicles recovered
T/Detective Superintendent Shaun White, of the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “Through joint partnership working with our neighbouring forces, we have seen some fantastic results, with 32 individuals being arrested, and more than 1kg of class A drugs, knives, an imitation firearm and other drug commodities being seized from around London’s borders. This is in addition to 27 arrests which were made last month as part of the same operation.
“We know that drugs are a driver of violent crime, and teams across the Met are using a range of tactics to tackle the supply of them on the streets of London. Officers are working hard to stop Organised Crime Groups importing drugs into the UK; specialist teams are targeting those managing the supply – exploiting young and vulnerable people to transport the commodity across the UK – and operations like this are identifying those responsible for distributing these substances on the streets. There is often a fine line between suspect and victim in these circumstances, and specialist officers supported us throughout this operation.
“We will not tolerate drug supply and the violence which can come with it, and our work does not stop here – we will continue to use tactics such as ANPR and all other lawful powers available to us to target violent crime in London.
“I would like to thank each and every officer who worked on this operation, and showed their commitment to bringing those involved in violence and peddling drugs to justice.
Detective Superintendent Mike Worrall, of the Kent Police Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, said: “The dismantling of class A drug supply networks is a shared responsibility, which is why it is so important that police forces work together on operations such as this to target those intent on committing serious criminal offences.
“Drug dealers do not recognise county boundaries or care which force is responsible for policing a particular area. All they care about is making money from the supply of crack cocaine and heroin to some of the most vulnerable people in society, and taking whatever extreme measures they deem necessary to protect their harmful brand.
“We do not stand for it and have teams of experienced officers who are dedicated to removing drug networks from the streets of Kent, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”
Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, of the British Transport Police, said: “Since December, our County Lines Taskforce has been carrying out operations across England, Wales and Scotland, often with the support of local forces. Each operation tackles gangs who use the railway network to move drugs and, in the process, exploit vulnerable people and children.
“This is a national issue and one that we deploy against almost every day.
“While local forces combat it in their own jurisdictions, my team is the glue that binds all their efforts together, ensuring that gangs who operate in London, and transport drugs into Essex and Kent through the railway, are threatened every step of the way; in London, at the stations and trains they use, and at their target location in another county.”
Crimes can be reported direct to police forces, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.
2 x Possession with intent to supply Class B
1 x Wanted for GBH
1 x Section 5 Public Order Act and assault on police
1 x Drug drive and possession drugs
1 x Possession cannabis
1 x Possession of class A drugs