Officers from Swindon’s Community Policing Teams targeted illegal drug supply and use in licensed venues across Swindon on Friday evening (27 April).

The operation was supported by Wiltshire Police Specials, Swindon’s licensing team and RAF Police Dog Handlers.

During the evening, twenty premises were visited in Old Town and New Town as well as specific patrols through public areas and the main thoroughfares between the venues.

The RAF’s Passive Alert Drugs Dogs (PADD) Ninja & Sonic were deployed in to each licensed premises.

During the operation 14 people were subject to a Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Stop Search; as a result of this:

1) One person received a Fixed Penalty Notice for possession of cannabis.
2) Three people received a Cannabis Street Warning.
3) Three people were found to be in possession of cocaine and are subject to ongoing police investigation.

During the operation the dogs also indicated to a number of self-seal bags that had been discarded by unknown people in various venues.  These items were seized and are suspected to contain cocaine; investigation relating to these finds are also ongoing.

PC Paul Bezzant, Swindon Town Centre Community Coordinator for Wiltshire Police, said:  “One of the main aims of this operation was to send a clear message that people who come to Swindon to enjoy a night out can do so safely.

“We are committed to working in partnership with licensees and partner agencies to take positive action against drug use within licensed premises.

“Use of the Passive Alert Drug Dogs like Ninja & Sonic greatly enhances our ability to target and deal with those involved in illegal drug use.

“In addition to drugs found in people’s possession, several others had evidently anticipated the inevitable and discarded drugs before Ninja and Sonic could sniff them out.

“We will be making this a regular tactic to drive drugs from our streets and the night time economy.”

Flight Lieutenant Matthew Jones, Officer Commanding Police & Security Flight RAF Brize Norton, said:  “The RAF Police, notably RAF Brize Norton, has a long standing relationship with Wiltshire Police through events such as the Royal International Air Tattoo.

“Supporting policing operations provides the RAF Police specialist Military Working Dog teams perfect training opportunities and the prospect to develop our interoperability with Wiltshire Police further while contributing to the safety of both the civilian and military communities.”

Dave Broome, Pubwatch Chairman, said:  “We welcome this initiative from the police and welcome the drugs’ dogs into our venues; we look forward to continually working with the police to make our venues as safe for our customers as they can be.”

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