Anyone who has seen much of The News recently can’t fail to have noticed the amount of drug-related crime.
As if the drugs themselves weren’t enough of a scourge, the trade has sometimes spilled over into serious, violent and bloody crimes.
This is nothing new – drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, and violence have always been intrinsically linked one way or another. But the recent spike in violence has certainly given more cause for alarm than usual.
There are successes in the war on drugs. Back in May six members of a gang from Manchester were given significant jail sentences for dealing grade A drugs in Portsmouth. And six members of the London-based ‘Sugar Network’ were also jailed for more than 14 years combined
But much like a hydra, if you remove one head – or even, as in this case, several – there is another quickly ready to take its place.
Many dealers arrested in Portsmouth have ties to London – a quick trip up the A3 can see them net hundreds if not thousands of pounds in sales, and they’re back home before the authorities even knew they were here.
Modern technology has made it easier for the dealers to spread the word of availability, via text messages for example.
We are reassured that the police are taking a proactive stance. A new team of detectives, based in Fratton, will be looking to target and disrupt the supply of drugs.
Given the geographical scope involved, sharing of intelligence between forces is key in this exercise.
And while they are highly unlikely to completely wipe out the trade in Portsmouth, we can only hope their work helps to make our streets safer for everyone.