CPC has received the following message from Wiltshire Police Community Messaging and is published for your information.

As part of a regional crackdown on county lines drug gangs, our communities are being urged to report any suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods.

The regional intensification campaign – called Operation Scorpion – is a focus for all five south west forces and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) with exact locations and timings being kept under wraps.

Op Scorpion, now in its sixth iteration since inception, harnesses the collective powers of the region to disrupt drug-related crime. Alongside targeting increased disruption, this iteration will also ensure young people – and their families – are being warned about the dangers of exploitation and how to spot the signs.

The regional focus is a result of the region’s five PCCs – from Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset – agreeing with their respective Chief Constables that their Forces, supported by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU), would combine operational powers to tackle cross border drugs supply, drug-related crime and associated anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Regional policing lead for this phase of the operation, Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith, said: “Intelligence from our communities will be fundamental to this operation being a success as it allows us to target specific locations where people are telling us they have concerns of illegal drug activity taking place.

“We need to know where this criminality is happening so that we can build an intelligence-rich picture which allows us to take decisive, enforcement activity.

“It is crucial that our communities know what signs to spot and how they can report their concerns to us and other agencies.

“We know that drug dealing is something which causes great harm to our communities across the south west and these drugs dealers have no thought or regard to the misery they are creating.

“These illegal enterprises bring with them violence, intimidation, exploitation and anti-social behaviour, and I hope that operations like Scorpion, show the public that it will not be tolerated.

“Although this is the sort of enforcement work which is ongoing 52 weeks a year, this operation sees a combination of resources with other agencies and organisations, to carry out focused and targeted work, both through enforcement and education, to make a real difference.

“Our message is clear – the south west is no place for drugs.”

Spotting the signs of County Lines activity in your community:

• An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat
• New faces appearing at the house or flat
• New and regularly changing residents (e.g different accents compared to local accent)
• Change in resident’s mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)
• Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia
• Changes in the way young people you might know dress
• Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g clothes, jewellery, cars etc)
• Residents or young people you know going missing, maybe for long periods of time
• Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults
• Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are
• Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school
• An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community
• Unexplained injuries

If you have information about drug dealing or suspicious activity in your community please report it to us. No matter how small the piece of information is, it will be recorded and used to build up a bigger intelligence picture that officers can then act on.

There are a number of ways you can report – You can report it online by visiting your local police force website, you can ring CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or you can call us on 101.