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West Mercia and Warwickshire Police join forces to tackle drugs
MORE than £10 million worth of drugs has been seized in West Mercia and Warwickshire police forces over the past two years.
In April alone, 544 kilos of cannabis was destroyed across both areas.
Now the two forces have teamed up to launch a new strategy aiming to “make life a misery” for drug dealers, while working to help addicts and discourage children from getting involved in illegal substances.
The three-year strategy aims to identify and shut down producers and dealer networks while also reducing demand by working to prevent young people taking drugs.
Detective Superintendent Graeme Pallister is coordinating the implementation of the strategy and said drug problems in the region may appear small compared with some major cities, but remained an issue that had to be dealt with.
“If drugs have made your life a misery then it’s still a misery, whether you live next door to a dealer, your son or daughter has become an addict, or you have been burgled by a drug user looking to fund their habit,” he said.
“This strategy is aimed at taking the misery out of people’s lives as much as is humanly possible. It’s all about reducing harm in our communities.”
He said it was important young people are educated in the harm drugs can cause.
“To the drug dealers and pushers our message is simple – we want to make life a misery for anyone making a living out of other people’s misery,” he said. “We will pursue you relentlessly, we aim to put you in jail and we will seize any property or assets you have gained.”
He said officers would work with drug users to kick their habits, but those who persisted to use illegal substance would be targeted.
A recent Home Office report showed that the use of illicit drugs in England and Wales is at its lowest level since records began, but DS Pallister said: “While that is good news and suggests we are winning the battle against drug crime we are in no way complacent and recognise there is still a lot of work to be done.”
West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore welcomed the project.
“Drug misuse is a serious issue causing harm not only to the health and well-being of the individual that is affected by it, but that of their families and the wider community," he said.
"It is also a major driver of crime. Because of this, reducing the harm caused by drugs is one of my priorities in my police and crime plan.
“I am pleased that this strategy is now in place and I hope that it will contribute to ensuring a safer West Mercia.
“I will continue to explore ways of working with various partners to encourage the delivery of effective and appropriate drugs education programmes, as well as deliver drugs testing and intervention programmes.”
Local authorities, health agencies and community safety partnerships will also be involved.
For more information, visit westmercia.police.uk.
WAR ON DRUGS: SUCCESS STORIES
SEPTEMBER 2012: Twenty-six drug dealers were sentenced to a total of 81 years, including Cheryl Mapp, aged 31, Neil Jones, 34, and Matthew Wright, 26, who all admitted selling drugs from a flat in Lowesmoor.
Jason George, 28, of Sansome Walk was jailed for 16 months and Richard Johnson, 35, of Barbourne Road and Mohammad Sadiq, of Wolverhampton, for five years and four months.
Simon Sliwinski was jailed for two years while and Lian Smith, 29, of Broad Street, and Maria Fortey, 50, of Park Street, were both jailed for 20 months.
NOVEMBER 2012: Timothy Gibbs, 34, of no fixed address, was jailed for two years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs following a raid at a house in Barbourne Road, Worcester. Andrew King, 46, of Goldsmith Road, Warndon, was given a two-year community order.
JANUARY 2013: Mohammed Shabir, 40, of Fladbury Crescent, Birmingham, was jailed for 16 years after between £5,000 and £6,000 of heroin and crack cocaine was found in his house along with a gun and live ammunition. He admitted supplying the drugs to dealers in Worcester.
Mohammed Ishaq, Gary Griffin, Leighton Bowkett, Michael Juson and Simon Sliwinski were also involved in the conspiracy and were jailed in September 2012.
JULY 2013: Daniel Henry, 24, of Glenworth Gardens in Wolverhampton, was jailed for nine years for his part in running a £40,000 drugs ring from a flat in Wyld’s Lane.
The next month £4,235 was seized from his mother Jerlene Campell.
Twenty-three-year-olds Jewade Graham, of Crosby Close, Wolverhampton, and Omari Sampson, of Newmarket Close, Wolverhampton, along with 22-year-old Nico Hemmings, of Walsall Street, Willenhall, were also jailed for supplying crack cocaine across Worcester, Malvern and Hereford.
John-Pierre Rancis, 36, previously of Wyld’s Lane, and Ronan Hanchard-Kerr, 22, acted as runners and were sentenced to two years and four years, four months respectively.
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