Policing Your Community – Commissioner says police teams are taking the fight to drug gangs after joining county lines crackdown

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said officers will continue the battle to drive drug gangs out of Surrey after she joined Surrey Police teams cracking down on ‘county lines’ criminality.

The Force and partner agencies carried out targeted operations across the county last week to disrupt the activities of criminal networks dealing drugs in our communities.

County lines is the name given to activity by highly organised criminal networks using phone lines to facilitate the supply of class A drugs – such as heroin and crack cocaine.

Drugs and drug related crime was one of the key issues that residents raised during the Commissioner’s recent ‘Policing Your Community’ roadshow in which she teamed up with the Chief Constable to hold in-person and online events in all 11 boroughs across the county.

It was also one of the top three priorities that those who filled in the Commissioner’s council tax survey this winter said they wanted to see Surrey Police focus on over the next year.

On Tuesday, the Commissioner joined a pro-active patrol in Stanwell including covert officers and the passive dog unit. And on Thursday she joined early morning raids in the Spelthorne and Elmbridge areas that targeted suspected dealers, supported by the specialist Force’s Child Exploitation and Missing Unit.

The Commissioner said these types of operations send a strong message to those gangs that police will continue to take the fight to them and dismantle their networks in Surrey.

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend watches as Surrey Police officers carry out a warrant

During the week, officers made 21 arrests and seized drugs including cocaine, cannabis and crystal methamphetamine. They also recovered a large number of mobile phones suspected of being used to coordinate drug deals and seized over £30,000 in cash.

7 warrants were executed as officers disrupted so called ‘county lines’, accompanied by activity throughout the week to safeguard more than 30 young or vulnerable people.

In addition, police teams across the county were out in communities raising awareness of the issue, including accompanying the CrimeStoppers ad van at several locations, engaging with students at 24 schools and visiting hotels and landlords, taxi firms and gyms and sport centres in Surrey.

Commissioner Lisa Townsend said: “County lines criminality continues to be a threat to our communities and the kind of action we saw last week highlights how our police teams are taking the fight to those organised gangs.

“These criminal networks seek to exploit and groom young and vulnerable people to act as couriers and dealers and often use violence to control them.

“Drugs and drug related crime were one of the top three priorities residents who filled in our recent council tax survey told me they wanted to see Surrey Police tackling over the coming year.

“So I am delighted to have been out with our policing teams this week to see first-hand the kind of targeted police intervention that is taking place to disrupt the activities of these county lines networks and drive them out of our county.

“We all have a part to play in that and I would ask our communities in Surrey to remain vigilant to any suspicious activity that could be related to drug dealing and report it immediately.

“Equally, if you know of anyone being exploited by these gangs – please pass that information to police, or anonymously to CrimeStoppers, so that action can be taken.”

You can report crime to Surrey Police on 101, at surrey.police.uk or on any official Surrey Police social media page. You can also report any suspicious activity you witness using the Force’s dedicated Suspicious Activity Portal.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.

Anyone who is concerned about a child should contact Surrey Children’s Services Single Point of Contact by calling 0300 470 9100 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) or by email to: cspa@surreycc.gov.uk

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