Drug busts up a third as force seizes more crack than any outside the Met
Suffolk police seized a higher volume of crack cocaine than any force outside the Met last year, according to new figures.
Drugs busts rose more than a third in 2017/18, Home Office data revealed, as Suffolk police took 6.25kg of crack off the streets in 414 seizures – more than the region’s other counties combined.
Cannabis made up more than half the 3,045 seizures, including 31kg of weed and 11,777 plants.
More were conducted per million people than anywhere outside the City of London, where fewer than 10,000 live.
Only Surrey and Cheshire saw a sharper spike than Suffolk, where seizures exceeded two-and-a-half times the total of 2007/2008.
Among the haul was two kilos of new psychoactive substances – or ‘legal highs’ banned in 2016.
While the Home Office said statistics should not be taken as a measure of prevalence, figures last month showed a 23% annual rise in recorded drug crime.
Nationally, the police and Border Force made 2% fewer seizures than last year – the sixth annual fall and lowest since 2004.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the local rise demonstrated how seriously the force took drug crime.
“Tackling drugs is one of many force priorities and our aim remains to investigate those who profit from crime, ensuring they are prosecuted and their assets confiscated,” he added.
“From serious and organised crime teams to local officers, we take positive action and conduct regular operations, responding to offences linked to illegal drug activity as part of our on-going work with Operation Velocity.”
Det Ch Supt Bridger said enforcement alone would not be enough to solve the nationwide problem of ‘county lines’ supply, where established urban gangs set up rural drug markets.
He added: “Drug crime has links to knife, and other violent and gang related offences, and is a complex social problem requiring input and action by other partners. Only by this approach can the root causes and the long-term effects be addressed.
“The force wants to ensure the county remains a hostile environment for those involved in the supply of drugs and provide reassurance to Suffolk residents.
“We will continue to pursue, disrupt and arrest those people, as well as constantly gathering intelligence that members of the public provide and for which we are grateful.”
•Turning Point’s Suffolk Recovery Network offers substance misuse services to adults and young people.
Manager Ruth Croft said: “As a treatment service, Suffolk Recovery Network sees on a daily basis the destructive impact that these drugs can have on an individual’s physical and mental health, and their relationships with people around them.
“We are working with a number of organisations including Suffolk County Council, Suffolk police and Iceni, to ensure the appropriate support is available to any individuals, families and the community.”
The network’s young person’s team also works with youth justice, children and young people’s services, schools and other charitable agencies, including Suffolk Family Carers, to offer a specialist early support service to younger people.
If you want to make a referral, or are concerned about someone else, call 0300 123 0872 or visit wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/Suffolk.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box below for details.