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Drugs raids result in 17 arrests 18 November 2008

Operation DeflectA JOINT neighbourhood policing initiative recovered drugs with a street value of more than £10,000 and led to the arrest of 17 individuals.

Operation Deflect, which took place over six consecutive days last week, has been hailed as a major success by senior officers and politicians. All five Neighbourhood Policing Teams were involved in the execution of 12 warrants at properties throughout the Island.

The intelligence-led raids targeted suspected drug users and dealers and resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis resin and cannabis bush. The operation was supported by several government agencies and local authorities and represented a concerted effort to disrupt the supply of controlled substances within the local community.

In some instances suspects had the doors to their homes burst open by officers wearing full public order gear. Neighbourhood teams – with assistance from the Police Dog Unit, CID and crime scene investigators – searched the properties under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Of the 17 men and women who were arrested, nine have been charged with alleged offences, six released on bail, one cautioned and one released with no further action. In addition to the drugs, officers also recovered a number of offensive weapons which will be processed and later destroyed.

Home Affairs Minister Adrian Earnshaw MHK said:

‘This was an example of neighbourhood policing at its very best. We want to reinforce the message that anybody involved with drugs runs a very high risk of being apprehended. As a close-knit Island community we are only too aware of the harmful affect drugs can have on our society. This operation should act as a clear reminder that we will do everything within our powers to protect our much-cherished quality of life.’

Superintendent Paul Cubbon added:

‘The fact that the vast majority of warrants led to the recovery of illegal substances underlined the quality of the intelligence gathered by the neighbourhood teams. Members of the public can be reassured that we are focussing our attention on all levels of drug crime and will continue to work hard to take offenders off the streets.’

Operation Deflect was led by officers from the five Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) – Douglas, Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern – who identified targets within their regions. Intelligence was compiled from a wide range of sources including police observations, data analysis, public complaints and calls made to the anonymous Crimestoppers phone line.

It was decided to stage a series of covert raids from Monday to Saturday last week in order to achieve the maximum impact in a short timeframe. A great deal of logistical planning took place in advance of the operation, co-ordinated by the NPTs with input from numerous partnership agencies.

Warrants were issued to search properties in Douglas, Onchan, Willaston, Pulrose, Ramsey, Peel, Castletown and Port Erin. Controlled substances were recovered at almost every address, ranging from trace amounts of cannabis resin to substantial hauls of Class A and C drugs.

Douglas NPT Operations Manager, Acting Inspector Steve Maddocks, said:

‘Officers from the five neighbourhoods joined forces in a bid to disrupt drug use and reassure the Manx public that serious action is being taken. This teamwork included vital support from our special constables and community volunteers and enabled the operational objectives to be met without affecting our day-to-day police work.’

Operation Deflect raidWhile the Drugs Trafficking Unit has achieved considerable success in intercepting large quantities of illegal substances, the police are also focussed on tackling offences of possession and supply.

Acting Inspector Maddocks said:

‘We want to reassure local residents that what may be considered as relatively low level drug offences are still taken very seriously indeed. Community safety was the key to this operation and we are constantly striving to ensure that people can go about their daily business without living in the shadow of crime. This will hopefully send out the warning that anybody who breaks the law – whether it is in relation to drugs, theft or burglary – will face the full weight of the Isle of Man Constabulary.’

Acting Sergeant Darren Richards of DNPT added:

‘We will continue to gather and review intelligence and criminals should be aware that the next knock on the door may be from a police officer armed with a search warrant. Anybody possessing drugs would be well advised to safely dispose of those items before they are arrested and sentenced by the courts.’

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