£1.77m for Op Fortress drug crime crackdown

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A POLICE crackdown on drug-related crime and violence is to receive a £1.77m funding boost.

Simon Hayes, Hampshire police and crime commissioner, has allocated the cash to Operation Fortress.

The project was started in Southampton in 2012 with an initial £2m budget. Now it is being rolled out forcewide.

Mr Hayes said: ‘Analysis and research conducted by the Operation Fortress team has demonstrated that a buoyant drugs market leads to a significant increase in violence. Much of this has predominantly been linked to crime gangs operating out of the capital. It is therefore essential that we continue this targeted intelligence-led work to make the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a hostile place for those who ply their trade in illegal and mind-altering substances.’

Det Supt Kath Barnes, who leads the campaign, said: ‘I’m looking forward to continuing with this extremely important work in protecting vulnerable people and keeping communities safe from drugs-related violence.’