Officers OutInForce to disrupt organised crime
We were #OutInForce across the county on Friday, 20 July, with an additional 161 officers and staff (some of whom usually work behind the scenes) working with frontline officers to undertake planned operations, proactive patrols and crime prevention activities to disrupt and reduce the impact of organised crime groups on the people of Surrey.
In total 13 people were arrested by these proactive teams, in addition to business as usual activities, for a range of offences including possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply, domestic abuse and immigration offences.
There was a particular focus on disrupting the transport and dealing of drugs in the county by organised crime groups.
In North Surrey, 86 addresses that had been identified as being at risk of cuckooing (where “county-lines” gangs from London use a vulnerable person’s home to deal drugs) were visited by police and our partners to provide support. Cuckooed properties frequently lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour in the immediate area, so it is important to everyone that we get ahead of the problem by preventing vulnerable residents being abused in this way.
Street sweeps (open space searches) in Woking and Epsom led to the discovery of a substantial number of syringes, as well as four hidden weapons and numerous small bags of drugs.
Following a stop-check in Staines, three people were arrested for possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. The car they were travelling in was seized and searched and a large quantity of drugs and suspected heroin and cocaine were found hidden throughout the car. As a result five fast-time searches of premises linked to suspects were carried out. All three have been released under investigation, while further drug testing is carried out.
Professional tradespeople and drivers are a key source of intelligence for police, as they can often be unwittingly used by criminal gangs to move goods, traffic people or launder money. On Friday officers worked with licensing officers and enforcement teams from a number of partner agencies, including Trading Standards, Taxi Licencing, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Environmental Health. By working together we were able to stop drivers, talk to them about organised crime, and take a truly multi-agency approach to tackling organised crime.
Around 30 vehicles carrying waste were required to produce waste carrier licence documentation or face further action. Twenty five vehicles being used as private hire taxis were stopped, with 11 of them breaching their licence in some way. Five scrap metal dealers were visited, with one being in breach of legislation.
PCSOs and staff, including members of staff from our HQ Human Resources and Training Departments, were also out doing crime prevention activities - visiting houses, schools and shopping centres to deliver home security, personal and online safety advice. Nearly 600 people received advice on preventing and reporting crimes such as organised fraud, burglary and anti-social behaviour.
The day’s activities were posted live across our social media accounts, using the #OutInForce hashtag, and officers and staff were joined by 9 members of the media, to show a true “behind the scenes” view into Surrey police. The hashtag #OutInForce trended across Twitter and was the ninth longest trending hashtag of the whole day.
Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Burton, who led the day’s activities, said:
“We rely on information from the public to tackle organised crime – the description of a car used by a drug dealer; a report of an attempted fraud that was thankfully unsuccessful; the call from a taxi driver who felt something wasn’t quite right with a passenger. All of this information helps us develop a picture of what is happening in our community.
“We know it can be frustrating providing intelligence, and then not seeing anything happen immediately, so today was about making those links – showing the public what we can do with the information we receive. It may take us time to investigate and build up a picture - we need to be sure of the information, and we need to have legal powers in place – but we do take notice and use the information to prioritise our response.
“Operationally the day was a great success. We made some very significant arrests and gathered some important intelligence that will become very valuable to our future investigations.
“I sincerely hope that the crime prevention advice work, and licencing checks that we did will make life harder for organised criminals targeting the Surrey public – criminals need to get the message that we are working with our partners, and with the public, to make their lives as difficult as possible.
“I want to extend my thanks to all the officers and staff who took part, to our partner agencies who assisted us and the public who engaged with us.
“I hope our activity demonstrated our ongoing commitment to keeping Surrey safe. We want to tackle the issues that matter most to our communities, so please keep talking to us.”
We are particularly keen to hear from residents with specific information or suspicions about drug dealing, people trafficking and modern slavery. We need descriptions of people, vehicles and activity. We want to know where and when criminal or suspicious activity is happening.
If you have information about suspected crime in your neighbourhood, please contact us via the website Surrey.Police.uk
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.