Operation Fortress, an on-going investigation which aims to reduce the harm of drug-related violence in Southampton, has succeeded in its objective.
Police put Operation Alcatraz into action in and around the city centre yesterday. This was a ‘ring of steel’ operation, a term used to describe the type of surveillance used, and utilised officers from British Transport Police (BTP), the UK Border Agency and approximately 150 local area police.
Late yesterday afternoon, the Roads Policing unit – a joint venture between Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police – manned the main routes into the city, using Automatic Number Plate Recognition to help in identifying criminals on the roads.
Operation Fortress detectives, who are based in Hulse Road, carried out operations all over the city, working in conjunction with the British Transport Police officers. The BTP were sited at both Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway stations monitoring criminal movement, particularly of those using inbound trains from London.
What we know so far:
- 34 people were detained on the street for drug searches
- 7 people received cannabis warnings
- Large amount of Class A drugs seized in house searches across the city
Officers belonging to the city’s licencing team spoke to club goers on London Road last night. They taught students about Operation Fortress and the ramifications of taking and / or dealing drugs.
Scott Chilton, the leader of Operation Alcatraz, stated:
“I’m very pleased with our results which clearly demonstrate that Southampton is a hostile place for anyone intent on bringing drugs and violence into the city. This was a complex and intricate operation that involved around 150 officers and staff from across the force and from our partners in the British Transport Police, the UK Border Agency and Southampton City Council. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in planning and executing this operation and particularly the public for their support. We all understand and appreciate just how devastating drugs and the crimes associated with them can be both to individuals, their families and the wider community. Operation Fortress reduces this harm and helps rebuild communities free from the fear of drugs. We will continue seek out and convict those individuals who choose to supply drugs. There will be no hiding place.”
Superintendent Jason Bunyard, British Transport Police, said:
“Our aim is to listen to what the community wants from us and act on their concerns. In this instance, drug carrying and dealing on the railway in Southampton was identified as being of concern to local people and this operation with Hampshire Constabulary demonstrates the commitment of the police to addressing this. Hopefully the operation will serve as a strong reminder of the fact that if you intend to use the railways to transport drugs we will look to arrest you and bring you to justice.”
Timothy Reichardt, the UK Border Agency assistant director for Hampshire, noted:
“This was a large scale operation to tackle the drugs trade in Southampton and shows that results can be achieved by working together. We work closely with Hampshire police to tackle illegal immigration and immigration crime. When someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we take action to remove them.”
Please contact Operation Fortress with any information you may have concerning drugs by dialling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Crimestoppers, the anonymous charity, can also be contacted with any information on 0800 555 111.