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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Police in Devonport and West Plymouth proactively reduce the threat of drug-related crime

After listening to concerns from residents living in Devonport and West Plymouth, the local policing team received support from the specialist Neighbourhood Support Team over a six-week period, to tackle crime and reduce the threat of crime to local communities.



The neighbourhood support team is a specialist group made up of a sergeant and five police officers, who are deployed to a specific area for a set period of time, and follow an action plan set by local officers. The key focus of this deployment was to target drug-related activity, including associated anti-social behaviour, open public drug use, and drug supply.


Over the six-week period, the specialist team completed over 800 hours of high-visibility patrols around targeted areas, with most of these being completed on foot to observe activity first-hand, and enable officers to speak directly with local residents. This resulted in a total of 12 people being arrested, and 28 people being stop searched. As a result of this, a quantity of Class A drugs and offensive weapons were seized and removed from local neighbourhoods. In addition, the team collated a significant amount of intelligence on key addresses in the area which were believed to be linked to drug supply. After gathering enough concrete evidence, the team were able to carry out two warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and have passed on further intelligence for a potential third address.


To actively tackle drug-related anti-social behaviour and promote a safer community, officers gathered intelligence on people whose actions were causing the wider community to have a reduced quality of life. After understanding local concerns and gathering evidence, the team were able to issue community protection notice warnings (CPNWs) to 15 individuals. When an individual, business or organisation receives a CPNW from the police, they are directed to stop causing the anti-social problem that is negatively affecting the community, and they have to ensure they take reasonable steps to prevent the issue from occurring again. A CPNW can last for an unlimited period of time, and any breach of the notice can result in a fine ranging from £100 - £2,500. All 15 of these notices have been attained to prevent individuals from committing further anti-social behaviour in local communities, and ensure local people can live and work safely and peacefully.

Inspector Paul Laity said: “We have listened to concerns from local people, and I am really pleased to share the good work our officers have done, with support from the specialist Neighbourhood Support Team. Whilst we appreciate there is still work to do, and the neighbourhood team will continue to patrol areas outlined in our priority plan, we are pleased to report the progress that has been made to remove the threat of drug-related crime in our communities.”
Inspector Laity continued: “As an example, we saw drug supply and violence in the Marlborough Street area significantly reduce after two individuals were arrested for affray and carrying an offensive weapon. Through carrying out increased, high-visibility foot patrols, officers witnessed a suspected drug deal which led them to discover and subsequently seize a quantity of cannabis and suspected spice and THC oil after the male involved was arrested.”

During the Neighbourhood Support Team’s local deployment, many vulnerable members of the community were identified, and support systems were put in place to protect them from harm and help them get into contact with partner agencies for additional support. During their deployment, officers were notified of a child stealing from a local shop before school. While the shop didn’t wish to formally report a crime, officers had concerns for the welfare of the child and gathered more information to check the child was being cared for. After making numerous enquiries to identify the child, officers liaised with their school and involved the child-centred policing team to understand why the child was resorting to stealing food. The team learned the child and their family had recently undergone a traumatic family event which had resulted in the family experiencing significant pressure. The family were referred to the correct agencies who are now putting the appropriate support in place to ensure everyone is safeguarded, which may not have been picked up had the officers not been completing patrols and liaising with local businesses.


In addition, two vulnerable adults were referred to the necessary partner agencies for further support after they came to the attention of officers due to their anti-social behaviour. This has enabled someone suffering from a mental health crisis to access the appropriate support, and a vulnerable person suspected of being exploited by drug suppliers to be safeguarded.

Inspector Laity commented: “We have received positive feedback from local business owners following our increased daily foot patrols. Following the success of this six-week period of targeted action, we will look to continue focusing our attention on areas of concern, to further improve the lives of local people and remove drug-related crime from our streets. We urge members of the community to continue reporting their concerns to us, as this allows us to appropriately target our resources.”

If you have any concerns about crimes including drugs and anti-social behaviour in your area, please report this to us via 101, our website, or by calling 999 in an emergency. To keep up to date with the local policing team in Devonport and West Plymouth, follow ‘Devonport and West Plymouth Police’ on Facebook, or sign up to Devon & Cornwall Alert for updates to be sent directly to your email inbox!


This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit: https://www.chesilradio.com


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