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Smashing drugs scene is top cop’s priority

 
Created on 30/06/2020 @ 10:49
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Welshpool police is changing tactics in its battle to smash the local drugs scene.

The Dyfed-Powys Police force’s top cop for the area has revealed that officers will be going after street dealers and banging on the doors of those with “small quantities of drugs” to “disrupt at the earliest possible opportunity”.

It marks a change in tactics from the force which has previously built cases to arrest those at the higher end of the ‘County Lines’ chain.

Speaking at a virtual public meeting, Powys BCU (basic command unit) Superintendent Steve Davies, who took over in May, was responding to concerns that gangs were adapting their methods to the Covid-19-enforced changes.

“In the past we have taken a longer term investigative approach, building cases,” he said.

“You have seen some of the headlines for people being imprisoned for long sentences. It’s positive, but all the while it allows the problem to become embedded, but now it’s disrupt. Disrupt at the earliest possible opportunity.

“That means in blunt terms doors going in and people being arrested, even if it’s only for small quantities of drugs.

“We have to send a message that those coming in to the area are going to feel uncomfortable because of the activities of the police.”

Supt Davies added that schemes would also be needed to help “some very challenged and vulnerable young people”.

As part of county lines these are sent by drugs gangs from urban to rural areas to start supply chains.

Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn added that it was important that people contact them especially over concerns about “cuckooing” when drug dealers take over someone’s home and use it as a base.

Supt Davies said his force was also keen to work with rural communities to clamp down on machinery thefts.

“Quad bikes and farm machinery is still attractive to the criminals,” he said. “I do think there is a need for manufacturers to play their part in designing out crimes.”

He added that rural crime officers were using “synthetic DNA” to mark quad bikes and farm machinery. The marks can be seen using an ultra violet light and mean that stolen property can be recovered.

Supt Davies added that thefts of heavy plant equipment such as diggers, had fallen once manufacturers had started putting engine immobilisers into them. He believed this should be done to farm vehicles.

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

 
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