Town winning war on drugs - police
ONE of Ipswich's top police officers today said the town is successfully waging war on drug dealers.Nearly 140 suspects have been arrested during a special operation, codenamed Academy, which targets pushers infiltrating Ipswich from London and other large cities.
ONE of Ipswich's top police officers today said the town is successfully waging war on drug dealers.
Nearly 140 suspects have been arrested during a special operation, codenamed Academy, which targets pushers infiltrating Ipswich from London and other large cities.
To illustrate the pervasive menace of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and cannabis, it has emerged Suffolk police recorded 9,382 drug offences over the past five years.
After three years' of growth, rising from 1,923 offences in 2003-04 to 2,015 in 2005-06, last year's figures dropped by almost 12 per cent to 1,781.
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The figures were revealed in answer to a House of Commons question by Graham Stuart, Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness.
Ipswich's battle to push out the pushers through Operation Academy is being hailed as a formidable weapon against the drug trade by Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Pepper, crime manager for the southern area.
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Det Ch Insp Pepper, who is based at Ipswich police station, said: “It has been a very successful operation. We are varying our tactics, particularly against those who come into county from outside Suffolk.
“At the moment 139 suspects have been arrested, who are alleged to have been involved in 75 offences. The majority of those are supplying Class A drugs.
“The maximum street value of the drugs seized to date is £130,280. This includes the seizure of more than 1,000 wraps of crack cocaine and more than 500 wraps of heroin.”
A wrap weighs between 0.2 and 0.4 grammes.
Other arrests have also been made on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and proceeds of crime offences.
In addition to Class A drugs, around 500 cannabis plants have also been seized as part of Operation Academy.
Help from the community is seen as paramount as part of the crackdown.
Police are also keen to use civil law as well as criminal law to drive out the dealers.
In Ipswich there have been a number of successful applications to magistrates this year for crackhouse closures.
Det Ch Insp Pepper said: “We can also go along the civil tack and will make sure the dealers don't live in that community anymore. It is about saying 'you are not welcome'.”
“I think Suffolk police and the southern area have set out our priorities quite clearly to the community. We will tackle Class A drug dealers.
“We are tackling this, not only on a street level, but also the middle markets. We have been successful. We are not complacent. Some of our tactics are cutting edge and we will continue to deliver.
“It is important we follow through on our promises and continue to do so.”
The latest news about Operation Academy comes in what has been designated nationally as Drugs Awareness Week.