MAY 2022: News from A&SPCC Mark Shelford

April 27 2022

New help for communities fighting crime

I AM delighted to tell you about a significant new approach that sees Avon and Somerset Police team up with partners across the South West to combine their operational powers in tackling cross-border drugs supply activities, known as Operation Scorpion.

Coinciding with National County Lines Intensification Week, the aim of this activity was to send a strong message to criminals that the South West is #NoPlaceForDrugs.

The five regional police services – Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire – alongside their respective PCCs, the British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and Crimestoppers, set aside regional boundaries just as criminals engaging in drugs activity do, to harness their collective power and disrupt the South West drugs market, dismantling drugs supply networks and arresting those who profit from them.

The forces used a range of tactics, including enhanced surveillance of the road and transport networks, increased high-visibility patrols in areas of high demand, carrying out warrants at addresses used for drug dealing and welfare checks on vulnerable people.

As a result, a number of successful results were achieved in our force area, including 64 arrests and 17 warrants executed. Five known county lines were disrupted and at least 41 weapon sweeps took place, along with 178 visits to vulnerable people’s addresses.

The results from this collective action speak for themselves and highlights what can be achieved when a borderless approach to drugs enforcement is taken. By coming together collectively in this way, we can send a strong message to criminals and those who exploit young and vulnerable people in Avon and Somerset that the South West is no place for drugs.

In other news, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Hiscott as my Deputy PCC to support me and my office in ensuring Avon and Somerset Police is an effective, efficient and legitimate police service.

Claire was a councillor for eight years in the Horfield Ward area, a cabinet member for education and skills, and an area chairman for Bristol and Gloucestershire Conservatives.

With the recent publication of my Police and Crime Plan, work is well underway in delivering against my priorities and objectives.

I know Claire has a particular interest in violence against women and girls as well as disproportionality, and I look forward to her supporting me in these workstreams.

Claire will also support me on engagement days, meeting with local people, partners and organisations to find out how we can support them and address their police and crime concerns.