20 Arrested In First Month Of Drugs Operation

Hampshire Police have made more than 20 arrests in the first month of a crackdown on drug-violence in Southampton.

Operation Fortress was launched a month ago and is one of the biggest projects of its kind ever undertaken by Hampshire Constabulary.

Over the last month, a team of officers dedicated to the project have been working with their local colleagues to carry out warrants, search premises and act on information about drugs activity across the city.

Police activity so far:

- 16 warrants and searches of properties (in Southampton,Totton and London)

-21 people arrested (including five charged, two cautioned,two street warnings)

- around 100 deals of class A drugs, worth thousands of pounds, seized

-more than £20,000 in cash seized

Campaign lead Detective Superintendent Kath Barnes said:

"We want to make Southampton a hostile environment for anyone intent on bringing drugs and violence into our city. Everything we're doing is geared towards achieving this while reducing the demand for drugs and helping to rebuild local communities."

Partnership working is key to the success of Operation Fortress and on Wednesday, June 27, representatives from many organisations came together for a planning day at Police Training Headquarters, Netley.

Agencies represented included Southampton City Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Probation Trust and Southampton Voluntary Services as well as education and drug treatment professionals.

D/Supt Barnes continued:

"The support of our partner agencies is crucial to Operation Fortress and I was really encouraged by the positive attitude of everyone who attended the planning day.

"I really hope people across Southampton see the campaign as a chance to get involved and reclaim their lives free from the fear of violence associated with drugs."

Jo Ash from Southampton Voluntary Services said:

"I'm pleased to be part of the inter-agency Operation Fortress briefing on Wednesday which was extremely informative and helpful in developing better ways of working together to support vulnerable people and communities in Southampton who might suffer as a result of serious organised drug crime in the city.

"Voluntary organisations have an important part to play in reassuring and informing local people, helping support those wishing to exit drug related activity and being part of finding solutions to this issue which can so seriously blight peoples lives."

If you're concerned about drug activity in your community you can contact the police in confidence. Call 101 and ask for the Operation Fortress team or email operation.fortress@hampshire.pnn.police.uk. You can also call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.