Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach joined officers and a sniffer dog as part of a proactive operation to disrupt illegal drug activity in Leicestershire City Centre.
The PCC accompanied city police officers and a ‘passive’ drugs dog, trained to smell the most minute trace of illegal drugs, for Saturday night’s Operation Fall.
The operation is targeted at removing drug use from the city in the early evening in a bid to reduce violence later in the night. National research shows violent crime peaks in city centres between 1am and 5am from the effects of alcohol and drugs taken earlier in the evening.
Passive drugs dogs are specially trained to smell both Class A and B drugs and will signal to their handlers if they smell drugs which indicates the person has taken, or is in possession of, illegal drugs. Officers will then speak to them and, if there are sufficient grounds, conduct a stop search.
During Saturday’s operation, officers stopped a total of 21 people. Of those, 15 were found in possession of drugs. In addition, one man admitted to having taken drugs earlier in the evening and two were under the influence of drugs.
Commenting on the operation, Willy Bach said: “It was fascinating to witness this dog in action and I was highly impressed at how accurate it was in detecting illegal substances.
“The relationship between drugs and alcohol and violent crime is well-documented. This operation is aimed at increasing the safety of pub and club goers by intervening early.
“Offenders know the detective capabilities of these dogs and the hope is that with continued, spontaneous operations such as this one they might think twice about taking or supplying drugs within our pubs and clubs which will make life safer for everybody.
“I’m pleased to say that we’ve received very positive feedback from the public and licensees about these operations. It sends a very clear and powerful message that drugs will not be tolerated.
“I should also say that it was a privilege to accompany Leicestershire police officers and see them policing this operation and the wider busy night-time scene. They were superb.”
All stop searches carried out by officers are recorded on Body Worn Video for monitoring. Feedback from independent stop and search scrutiny panels has identified a very high quality of stop searches with legitimate grounds completed.
The majority of those dealt with are eligible for a community resolution which is issued on the street with the condition they must engage and attend a drugs appointment. However, arrests have been made of individuals found in possession of a weapon or those who are wanted.