Proactive operations took place across the city between October 9 and October 16 to disrupt drugs supply networks referred to as ‘County Lines’ and protect those most vulnerable to criminal gangs.
County Lines is the name given to drug dealing across regional borders which is responsible for high levels of violence, as well as the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children.
Multi-skilled police teams made several arrests across the city last week to stop those suspected of this kind of activity in Southampton.
Extra patrols were carried out by armed response teams, drug dogs were used and plain clothes officers were deployed to stop and search those suspected of being concerned in the supply of controlled substances.
During the week of action last week:
- Seven people were arrested
- Five people were found carrying cannabis
- Three warrants were executed
- Three people were charged
- Two vehicles were searched
Officers executed a warrant at an addresses in Anglesea Terrace on Tuesday 9 October and charged three teenage boys.
An 18-year-old man from Southampton was charged with possession with intent to supply Class A, B & C controlled substances and possession of Class B substance. He is due to appear again at Southampton Crown Court on November 5.
A 16-year-old boy was charged with possession with intent to supply Class A, B & C controlled substances. He is due to appear at Southampton Youth Court on October 29.
A 15-year-old boy was charged with charged with possession of a class B drug and assaulting a police officer with the intent to resist arrest. He was due to appear at Southampton Youth Court October however the case was adjourned. A new date is yet to be confirmed.
On Sunday 13 October officers stopped and searched a 19-year-old man from Middlesex in East Park and a 30-year-old man from London in Palmerston Park. Officers found cannabis on both men. Both men were dealt with by way of community resolution.
Also on Saturday 13 October officers on patrol stopped a vehicle in St Matthew Close car park. Five men were in the car. Officers investigating noticed the car smelt of cannabis and searched two of the men. Both men aged 18-years-old and from Southampton admitted to possession of cannabis and were given a community resolution.
On Sunday 14 October officers stopped and searched a 28-year-old man in the park suspected to be involved in drug supply. He was arrested for being concerned in the supply of a class B drug after a search revealed he was carrying six bags of cannabis. The man, from Southampton, was given a conditional condition.
On Monday 15 October officers stopped a vehicle on Harbour Parade suspected of being concerned in drug supply. All four passengers were men from London, aged 20, 21, 21 and 26-years-old and were arrested on suspicion of drug offences. The men and the vehicle were searched. However no drugs were located. The men were released and no further action was taken.
On Tuesday 16 October two warrants were executed at addresses in Anglesea terrace. A 27-year-old woman and a 20-year-old woman were both found in possession of cannabis and were dealt with by way of community resolution.
Acting Superintendent Phil Lamb, said: "Tackling county lines drugs activity is a priority for us in Southampton and while we supported this national week of action, we are carry out this type of work throughout the year under Fortress, our response to reducing drug-related harm.
“We know how much of an impact drug-related crime can have on our communities and we are dedicated to obstruct gangs who think Southampton might be a soft touch.
“Through this proactive work we are able to disrupt those coming to Southampton to deal drugs, gather intelligence and identify and safeguard exploited children. Successful warrants, stop and searches, arrests and patrols means we have been able to make a statement - that Southampton will not tolerate drug-related criminal activity and we will make it hard for criminals involved in drug supply to operate here.
“We want to make it clear to those reading this that this is not the end. We will not stop taking action against those dealing drugs and exploiting local children.
“My advice to you is leave Southampton - or be looking over their shoulder all the time wondering when that knock will come to their door.”
“It’s important to remember that we do not work alone when it comes to targeting this issue, we also depend on the support of our partners and the help from you, the public.
“You can help by trusting your instincts and making us aware of suspicious activity or concerns you have about vulnerable adults or children.
“If somebody shows signs of mistreatment, or a child seems to be travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with an area, you can report it to us.
“Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines dealing, they may be exploited in some other way, so it is always worth speaking out. Call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Alternatively, you can report online via our website. Please bear in mind that while we cannot always respond immediately to every report, all reports help us to build a better picture of what is happening locally and allows us to ensure we are focusing on the right areas at the right times. This type of information is vital.”