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Playing our part in regional crackdown on drugs

Op Scorpion tackles local drug crime across the South West

This week we’re playing our part in the second phase of Operation Scorpion, a regional crackdown on drugs. 

We’re joining South West regional colleagues in carrying out operations to disrupt drug supply and prevent drug crime within the region, alongside preventative, educational and engagement work in communities.

Neighbourhood police officer on patrol speaking to young person

Operation Scorpion is a joined-up collaboration between the five police forces in the South West region (Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire), alongside their respective offices of Police and Crime Commissioners, the British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) and the charity Crimestoppers to combine resources to tackle drug supply in the region and make the South West a hostile environment for drugs. 

Following a successful Phase I operation in March*, Phase II of Operation Scorpion will focus on the impact of drugs within local communities and highlight the intelligence police need from the public to help disrupt the South West drugs market, dismantle drugs supply networks and arrest those who profit from them.

Our work will include:

• Using information from communities to target and arrest drug offenders
• Seizing illegal drugs and drug-related weapons
• Working with partner agencies to support and help those vulnerable to exploitation
• Working with partner agencies to provide support to those who are involved in drug use
• Engaging with young people and communities to provide education around exploitation and drug harm
• Carrying out high visibility patrols to disrupt activity in areas of drug misuse
• Tackling drug waste and litter impacting local communities

Our lead for Operation Scorpion Superintendent Steve Kendall said: “In this phase of Op Scorpion, we’ll be reassuring our communities through high profile neighbourhood policing. Patrols will be targeted to disrupt street-level drug crime and we will be carrying out enforcement activities across the week, focusing on those who are profiteering from the damage and harm that drugs bring to our communities, including drug-related violence, theft and criminal damage.

“Alongside enforcement work we’ll be safeguarding vulnerable people who find themselves caught up in drug use and/or supply, through no fault of their own, working with a number of different partner agencies to help them to access treatment and support.   We’ll also be continuing our ongoing educational and preventative work to ensure that young people are aware of the signs of grooming and exploitation and how to get help if they need it.”

“We’ll be asking the public to play their part in looking out for and reporting signs of drug activity in our neighbourhoods.  We need their help to support our partnership approach in tackling illegal drug supply within our communities.  Together we can reinforce the message that Avon and Somerset is no place for drugs.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said: “This week of action aims to demonstrate our commitment to making the South West a safe place – a hostile environment for illegal drug use and exploitation. It’s a week of enforcement, but more importantly, it’s a week of education, awareness and prevention. We seek to help those who may be vulnerable to exploitation and encourage those who live in our neighbourhoods to report any concerns they have around drug activity so that we can work to prevent this from causing any harm to our communities.”

*The first phase of Operation Scorpion took place in March 2022 and resulted in:

• 194 arrests in connection with drugs related offences
• 55 warrants carried out
400 drug line disruptions
• £404K (at least ) of suspected drugs seized
£131K (at least) of cash seized
320 vulnerability / welfare checks carried out and people safeguarded
• A vast array of weapons seized including tasers, knives and machetes.

Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity should report it online at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

To pass on information anonymously, the independent charity Crimestoppers is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 and through a non-traceable online form. Contact will remain 100% anonymous. Always. They will never ask for a name or contact details and the phone call or online report will never be traced. If the information supplied leads to an arrest and charge, there could be a cash reward of up to £1,000.

For links to Bristol City Council’s recommended drug and alcohol misuse support, please see: Drug and alcohol misuse support – bristol.gov.uk