Durham partnership in anti-social behaviour crackdown

OpRelentless4

1:30pm 13th February 2018
(Updated 2:01pm 13th February 2018)

Durham Constabulary and partners have completed a nine-day programme of co-ordinated strikes and community engagement across the Peterlee area.

The work, under the brand of ‘Operation Relentless’, is a multi-agency initiative aimed at tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, and providing community reassurance to neighbourhoods in and around Peterlee.

Crimes that have been targeted include burglary, cannabis cultivation, handling of stolen goods and drug misuse. Magistrates search warrants have been conducted and criminality disrupted across the area.

Alongside Durham Constabulary, the partner agencies involved include County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service, Durham County Council, and Durham Agency Against Crime.

Inspector Lee Blakelock, of Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

“Through meeting with residents both out in the community and at our regular PACT meetings, we’ve been able to identify some key concerns that people in the Peterlee area have.

“With Operation Relentless, we’re putting a spotlight on those concerns and showing the public that we are listening, and we are doing what we can to put an end to activities that are a detriment to quality of life in the area.”

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As a result of the operation, six Magistrates search warrants have been carried out, seven people have been arrested for failing to appear in court, and one man has been arrested for being unlawfully at large.

In conjunction with Durham Constabulary’s ongoing operations Valdis, Endurance and Takeaway, twelve vehicles have been seized, including three quad bikes and several off-road bikes.

The illegal and anti-social use of off-road bikes has been a particular point of concern raised by members of the public, and is linked to a large number of ASB reports. Operation Endurance is the Force’s response to the issue, and aims to tackle the problem head on.

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The Stay Safe scheme, an initiative led by Durham Constabulary’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Team to reduce nuisances caused by underage drinking, saw eleven young people brought to places of safety, referrals put in place for safeguarding, and a quantity of alcohol being seized.

Community engagement events have been held throughout the week, giving residents the opportunity to meet representatives from all agencies and discuss their concerns. Multi-agency walkabouts were conducted in Thornley, Wingate, Wheatley Hill, Trimdon Station and Shotton Colliery.  

Insp Blakelock said:

“These events are a key component not just of Operation Relentless, but of policing in Durham as a whole.”

Led by Durham Agency Against Crime, two leaflet drops were made by Volunteer Police Cadets, and five community speed watches were carried out by the Mini Police, an initiative which aims to involve 9 to 11 year-olds in tackling community issues in a safe and engaging manner.

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These speed checks caught a number of motorists exceeding the speed limit, but their presence (accompanied by local beat officers) was a considerable deterrent to would-be speeders, resulting in most drivers remaining within the limit.

Ian Hoult, Neighbourhood Protection Manager at Durham County Council, said:

“We’re really proud to be involved with all of our partners, working in communities to reassure them that County Durham remains a safe place to live.

“What’s really important is that this comes from the community up, and allows us to tackle low-level issues like dirty yards, gardens and graffiti, all the way up to drugs warrants. Working individually, the results aren’t the same as when we come together to tackle these issues shoulder to shoulder.”

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If you would like to discuss your own community concerns, you can visit here to keep up to date on upcoming community engagement events in your area. 

A full breakdown of results from Operation Relentless is as follows:

- 6 Magistrates search warrants carried out (under misuse of drugs and theft acts).

- 1 voluntary search in Thornley, with recovery of cannabis.

- 7 arrested for failing to appear in court.

- 1 arrested for being unlawfully at large.

- 1 wanted on recall to prison.

- 7 vehicles seized in conjunction with Operation Valdis.

- 3 quad bikes and 4 off-road bikes seized in conjunction with Operation Endurance.

- 2 vehicles recovered in conjunction with Operation Takeaway.

- 3 waste carriers licence checks carried out.

- Litter picks conducted by community groups.

- 3 properties referred to Durham County Council for health and safety concerns. 

- 29 properties identified for action concerning overgrown or untidy gardens.

- 10 licensing checks of licensed premises (8 of 10 tested positive for drugs).

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