Police chief: Town's drug gangs 'should be scared'
- Credit: Archant
"They should be scared".
That is the message to gangs in Thetford from one of Norfolk's most senior officers, as the force comes down hard on drugs and violent crime.
Superintendent Lou Provart fired off the warning following a spate of drugs-related arrests in the town for various offences including possession with intent to supply.
Key to the constabulary's recent success is Operation Orochi, a partnership with the Metropolitan Police targeting the controllers of County Lines activity.
Its focus is analysing the data of mobile phones used to buy and sell cocaine and heroin between London and Norfolk - and shutting them down at source.
Supt Provart, who oversees policing in the Breckland and King's Lynn areas, says the collaborative approach had reaped some pleasing rewards in Thetford.
"Recently we have seized a significant number of clear Class A supply rings, made key arrests and identified some key County Lines activity," added Supt Provart.
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"The reality is that crime trends support there being a problem in Thetford, and that is not just drug crime but violent crime. But you work backwards and it all comes from the drug community."
County Lines dealing has become prevalent over the past decade, with networks recruiting children and vulnerable adults known as 'runners' to ferry drugs across the country.
But officers in Norfolk have fought back with a vengeance, their efforts contributing to the conviction of several major drug dealers.
"What we have showcased with Operation Orochi is that Norfolk's response is one of the most advanced when it comes to a far broader problem," said Supt Provart.
"In Thetford, any problems with drug crime are probably not on the radar of most residents because it is typically violence aimed at people involved.
"As a policing commander, my job is to cut off the reason for this epidemic of violence - and it is all driven by drug supply and drug use."
Word among police is that some involved in drug supply are becoming "scared to leave their houses" - with good reason, according to Supt Provart.
"If criminals are scared, they should be," he added. "The community has my full backing and we will work on their behalf to bring these individuals to justice."