New police team seizes up to Â£10,000 of hard drugs in Portsmouth
A DRUG squad has seized around Â£10,000 of crack cocaine and heroin in just over a week.
The 10-strong team of detectives, led by Detective Inspector Linda Howard, started on January 3.
Within nine days the team arrested 10 people for drug offences, seized between £8,000 and £10,000 of crack cocaine and heroin and found around £8,000 in cash.
The News revealed the team had been set up following acknowledgment from Portsmouth’s most senior police officer, Superintendent Will Schofield, that drug supply had increased in Portsmouth.
When the team started, police said a key aim would be protecting vulnerable people, particularly teenagers forced to work as runners for drug gangs.
Three children have since been safeguarded by the team, the force said.
Chief Inspector Jim Pegler, who oversees the team, said: ‘Over the past nine days, we have seen some great work by our drug-related harm team in Portsmouth.
‘Policing today is complex and challenging; our mission is to make you and your family safer.
‘Importantly the “you” in this statement includes people whose life choices put themselves at increased risk of harm. Many families in Portsmouth have been affected by the misery that a dependence on drugs brings and we will seek to make everyone in the community safer.’
He said two boys, aged 15 and 16 and from London, were found in a property in the city and were arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs.
‘We have to remember that vulnerable children are often given little choice and are exploited by gangs to run drugs,’ Ch Insp Pegler said.
‘We have safeguarded these young people, working with social services in London, whilst also investigating the offences.
‘We work closely with partners to try to help vulnerable people change their lives and where they don’t change behaviour we will take enforcement action as a partnership.’
Police from St Thomas Neighbourhood Policing Team helped Sanctuary Housing to evict drug addicts.
The people were ‘creating a negative impact’ on their neighbours, police said.
Ch Insp Pegler added: ‘As a police service we will gather evidence and prosecute people where appropriate; we also seek solutions that will have the most impact on the problem, as there are many problems that prosecutions do not solve.
‘Often people who are victims of serious drug-related violence do not co-operate with police officers through fear of further violence.
‘This can make it very challenging to safeguard people and prevent further harm.
‘We will always take whatever steps we can to reduce risk and prosecute serious violence, even without the support of a victim.
‘Our teams are determined to make Portsmouth hostile to drug dealers who bring violence to the city.
‘Since the launch of our drugs-related harm team on January 3, the excellent police work will have deterred dangerous people from coming to our city.
‘This important work will be ongoing by our dedicated team over the coming months.’
The team is running as a six-month project.