More than 700 people arrested as part of UK-wide County Lines action

By Swindon Link - 18 October 2019

Crime

Figures released today (18/10), show that a total of 743 people were arrested during a national intensification week where police forces across the country targeted major drug gangs (7 - 13 October).

In Wiltshire, approximately 50 officers were involved in Operation Jetway to tackle County Lines which saw a total of 63 people arrested across just five days. 

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin said: “We arrested a total of 63 people during our week-long campaign which not only shows the amount of drug gang activity going on in the county but also the concerted effort being made by Wiltshire Police to close these lines down. 

"Our message to any drug gang in Swindon and Wiltshire is that we are not a soft touch and you are not welcome here - if we find you, we will arrest you. 

"The aim of these arrests was to not only target the drug gang leaders, but also provide help for vulnerable people who often get caught up in drug dealing - protecting them and hopefully, with help from our partners, preventing them from falling back into this way of life. 

"Our work is as much about protection and prevention as it is enforcement; working with the likes of local councils, schools and colleges, we can ensure that everyone is helping to tackle County Lines." 

Wiltshire and Swindon's Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said:  "The 63 arrests in this intensification week is the culmination of weeks of planning and intelligence and it shows the dedication of our officers and staff to crack these destructive County Lines. 

"These stats, which feed in to the overall national picture, send a message to the wider community that officers are listening and will take your concerns seriously.

"However, the whole of society needs to help; by using your eyes and ears, you too can help police stamp on these criminal gangs.

"It's not just about enforcement, it has to be a multi-agency response in order to best reach those who really need our help.

"Education is also key and the police and my office are working with colleagues in the local authorities, schools and safeguarding to provide information and highlight the dangers.

"I encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the signs to look out for to help stop these criminals from exploiting our young and vulnerable people.

"Please keep calling 101 or 999, if an emergency, or reporting via the police website."

Wiltshire's week of action was part of a nationwide week of targeted activity, organised by the National County Lines Coordination Centre.

Across the UK, between 7 and 13 October:

  • 652 men and 91 women were arrested
  • 389 vulnerable adults and 292 children were engaged for safeguarding purposes
  • 655 cuckooed addresses were visited
  • 49 ‘deal lines’ were seized
  • There were 41 referrals to the National Referral Mechanism, which assesses individuals as potential victims of human trafficking/modern slavery
  • Officers seized cash totalling £183,976
  • 169 weapons were seized including: 12 firearms, as well as swords, machetes, an axe, knives, samurai swords and a crossbow
  • Significant amounts of drugs were recovered, totalling £426,040: £253,200 worth of cocaine, £100,170 worth of crack cocaine and £72,670 worth of heroin.

If you have information about drug dealing in your area there are options available for reporting. You can call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency or go to www.wiltshire.police.uk where you can report anonymously.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or visit the young people's website Fearless.org

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