Chief Constable Lewis Blog: 200,000 reasons why our work is vital to communities
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Chief Constable Richard Lewis Blog:
What does £2m worth of drugs look like? Or for that matter, what does £2m worth of anything look like? It might seem like a strange question but in the police service we often proudly tell the world how much drugs we seize without really quantifying what it means or how it looks.
The monetary value is important and is an easy means of quantifying our work but in this blog, I want to explain just how well we’re doing in the fight against drug dealers and our work on Operation Endeavour.
So far, since last month alone, we’ve seized over £2m of illicit drugs on the streets of Cleveland, arrested over 150 people and initiated over 130 prosecutions.
Given that many drugs deals are made on the basis of a bag of £10 deals, that’s the equivalent of 200,000 separate drugs deals that have never hit the streets of Cleveland due to the great work of our staff.
That’s enough deals to fill Wembley Stadium more than twice over if you put one deal on each and every seat of the stadium – it’s a huge amount of drugs by anyone’s standards and achieved since only May.
I know that enforcement isn’t the only answer to breaking the cycle but I also know that taking drugs off the streets hurts Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) and that’s what we want to do – hurt them by taking away their assets and putting them behind bars for as long as possible.
What is an OCG though? Members of these gangs do not walk around with labels that identify them and I can assure you that organised crime can (although not always) be pretty disorganised. OCGs are defined in legislation within the Serious Crime Act 2015 as:
Having as its purpose, or one of its purposes, the carrying on of criminal activities
Consists of three or more persons who act, or agree to act, together to further that purpose
Clearly, there are sophisticated and well organised groups involved in criminality who fit that definition but at the lowest levels of the group, they exploit vulnerable people who are members of our community; they replace hope with fear. With your information, we can stop them.
I know what a significant difference to our communities this work under the banner of Operation Endeavour is making and to ensure it’s a continuing success, we need your eyes and ears in your neighbourhoods to tell us directly on 101, through the Cleveland Police website, or via Crimestoppers anonymously by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org or calling 0800 555 111.
OCGs cause misery in our communities, but they can, and must be defeated. They prey on our children and add nothing positive to our area but if we all work together their influence is not inevitable – we’re busy dismantling them and putting them in jail and with your help we can achieve success.
My ask of you is to keep letting us know about the problems in your area. It can be frustrating if you don’t see police activity immediately on giving us information but there are often good reasons for the delay such as building an intelligence picture so that we have the maximum impact, targeting maximum people in our response.
Together, we’re stronger and if we work together, we can make real change happen.