Police dogs help sniff oiut drugs in Nottingham city centre

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The force’s drugs dogs have helped to sniff out illegal substances in the city in a series of successful operations run over the festive period.

With the help of dogs Freddy and Ross, Nottinghamshire Police seized drugs from 62 people over successive weekends from the end of November through to Christmas.

Operation Promote was set up to tackle the use of cocaine in the city centre which can contribute to violent behaviour and disorder. Fourteen arrests for cocaine possession were made.

The success of the operation, which also saw officers from British Transport Police helping to search revellers, means it will be used again on weekends in March and forms another tool in our armoury for city centre policing. It also supports the Force’s Alliance Against Violence Campaign and is part of a wider partnership initiative to reduce the harm caused by stimulant drugs.

Cocaine when taken with alcohol forms cocaethylene, a powerful psychoactive agent proven to drive violent behaviour. Stimulant drug use enables drinkers to consume much more than they usually would be able to, exacerbating their drunkenness.

Last year in Nottingham 41 per cent of violent offenders who were tested, tested positive for, or admitted using stimulants when arrested. Similar operations conducted in other UK cities have demonstrated that removing cocaine from the night time economy can lead to dramatic reductions in violent crime.

Chief Insp Shaun Ostle said: “Huge strides have already been made in Nottingham over recent years to reduce crime and the factors can drive it, such as the misuse of drugs.

“This initiative aimed to continue to help make Nottingham as safe as it can be for citizens.

“Nottingham doesn’t have any more of an issue with drugs than any major city, but substance misuse remains a challenge to be tackled.

“Violent crime reduced by 23 per cent over the nights that the operation ran- that was inspite of an increased footfall of 10 per cent in the city centre. We are working with partners to analyse the impact of the work so we can take away lessons for the future”.

Raising awareness and ensuring health needs are met was a central aspect of the operation. Those arrested with drugs were referred to treatment with Nottinghamshire Probation’s Criminal Justice Intervention Team while Recovery in Nottingham ensured harm reduction materials were available in venues.

Peter Moyes, Director of the Crime & Drugs Partnership said: “This operation has demonstrated the commitment of partners to work together to tackle drugs in the city and has demonstrated the value of partnership working between agencies to address a multi-faceted problem.”

In total 201 people were stopped and searched.