More than 100 arrested as Op Gravity continues
Police have now arrested more than 100 people as they continue their campaign against drug dealing in Norfolk.
Operation Gravity launched in December 2016 as a direct response to an increase in the number of violent offences linked to illegal drugs activity in the county.
Since then officers across the force have been targeting the most serious offenders involved in the dealing and the transportation of Class A drugs around the county and a total of 106 people have been arrested.
Three men were arrested in Ber Street in Norwich at approximately 9.30pm last night (Tuesday 21 February) after officers stopped a car and seized drugs, cash and a quantity of mobile phones.
The men, aged in their late teens and early 20s and from the London and Hertfordshire areas, were all arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug and remain in police custody.
Approximately £10,000 worth of Class A drugs and £25,000 in cash has been seized since Operation Gravity began. 10 knives and two offensive weapons have also been seized.
Whilst Operation Gravity is targeting criminals travelling into the county involved in drug related crime, a large proportion of the work has been focussed on supporting those vulnerable members of our communities who are being taken advantage of.
Drug dealers use a range of tactics such as violence or exploiting vulnerable individuals. In the last two months officers have seen cases of ‘cuckooing’, where dealers take over a person’s home from which they can operate.
They also prey on adolescents, some of which who are already involved in the drugs lifestyle, by getting them to conceal and carry the drugs for them.
Norfolk Constabulary has been working closely with partner agencies throughout Operation Gravity in order to identify those who have become victims of drug dealers and being forced to assist them, whilst signposting them to any support they may need.
T/ACC Mike Fawcett, who leads on local policing, said: "Operation Gravity is making significant progress in its campaign to disrupt and deter drug dealing across Norfolk but we cannot be complacent and we will continue to take robust action against those involved in illegal drug activity. The message is clear - we cannot and will not tolerate illegal drugs activity in Norfolk.
"We have now arrested more than 100 people in connection with the supply and distribution of drugs across the county; however, we do recognise that this will have an impact on those vulnerable members of the community who use drugs and may need support. This is why we are committed to continuing our work with partner agencies to signpost drug users to the rehabilitation they may need.
"Education is equally important if we want to protect young people from becoming involved in this kind of lifestyle. By tackling these issues, we are not only protecting the vulnerable but we are also reducing the demand for drugs across the county.”
Anyone needing help and support are encouraged to contact the Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) on 0300 7900 227. The NRP provides confidential advice and treatment for adults with drug and alcohol problems, and is run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation, The Matthew Project and The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust.
Local communities have also had a significant role to play in helping keep the county safe. T/ACC Fawcett added: "Local communities have been extremely supportive of this campaign. Illegal drug activity and associated crime can have a detrimental effect on communities and I would like to reassure residents that we will continue to act on information provided to us.”
Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity should contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101; however, if you have information but want to stay anonymous you can also contact independent charity Crimestoppers.
Liam Duffy, Eastern Region Manager for Crimestoppers, said: "The violence and criminality surrounding the illegal drugs trade ruins lives and damages communities. Often fear and intimidation prevents people from speaking directly to the police. Crimestoppers offers a completely anonymous way to report what you know about crime. Pass on information safely by calling 0800 555 111 or via our non-traceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org – you won’t be asked for your personal details, won’t have to go to court and you’ll be helping make your communities safer.”
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, said: "I have been following the progress of Operation Gravity closely and having spoken to officers involved in the operation I can vouch for the determination and commitment of the force to tackle criminals travelling into the county to deal drugs.
"I am heartened to see the constabulary continuing to work with partners to support the vulnerable who can easily get caught up in such damaging illegal activity.
"I would also like to thank the Norfolk community for their on-going contribution; it is only by working together that we will make our county a seriously hostile environment for those looking to supply and distribute drugs.”