After several concerns from the community, Northumbria Police is launching ‘Operation Shield’ to help tackle drug dealing in Newcastle
Operation Shield will see plain-clothed police officers on the streets with special consideration on target areas to gather intelligence on criminal activity.
The main focus will be on the areas of Walker and Byker, including streets and high-rise flats across these locations.
Northumbria Police also stated that there might be dawn raids taking place in properties that have links or involvement in the supply of drugs. Uniformed officers will also be assisting in this operation across the wards.
Inspector Dan Whyte of Northumbria Police said “There have been a number of concerns raised with us about drug paraphernalia being dumped across Byker and Walker as well as overt drug use. Some addresses have been reported to us as being involved in the supply of drugs, and that can often see frequent visitors to an address. That can, in turn, lead to anti-social behaviour that leaves vulnerable residents who live in the area feeling scared to walk in their own neighbourhood.
We have been carrying out activity across Byker and Walker to address this for some time, and a number of drug warrants have been executed in recent weeks. But now we are launching Operation Shield, so these wards are even more of a hostile place for drug dealers and drug users. We will be deploying plain-clothed officers, carrying out surveillance and uniformed officers will be patrolling on foot at a number of key locations.
The aim is to make it as difficult as possible for drug dealers to operate in Byker and Walker while also identifying those involved in this criminality. Anyone who has information about those involved in drug dealing in their community is encouraged to contact us so we can respond accordingly.”
The operation is supported by the Community Safety Partnership for Newcastle, Safe Newcastle. Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, the chair of the organisation, commented, “Ours is a safe city, but we know that there are issues, such as drug supply and misuse, that impact on our communities.
“As a partnership, we have worked hard over many years to respond to community concerns, tackle offending, protect and support victims of crime, and improve the lives of local people.”
“And it is positive to see this new initiative helping to address one of our key priorities by aiming to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs.”
Reducing Newcastle’s drug problems
The city is no stranger to hitting the headlines for its drug-related incidents. In February, Northumbria Police seized a haul of drugs after reports that residents in a property in Kinross Drive could be dealing drugs. They recovered a significant amount of cannabis and mobile phones. At the time Neighbourhood, Sergeant Graham Yare said, “We will not shy away from executing warrants at properties that we believe to be linked to drug dealing and this kind of activity will continue.
“I would encourage the good people of the area to come forward and provide any information that will assist is in the pursuit of these criminals.
“All information will be treated totally confidential, and we have proven that we will respond to it robustly.”
This news comes after it was revealed by Devon and Cornwall Police, that drug dealers around the country are changing tactics as a result of the lockdown measures in place due to the COVID-10 pandemic.