Public are massive help in crackdown on drugs offenders, say police
VIGILANT members of the public have been praised by police for helping them tackle drug-dealing and abuse across Derbyshire.
Officers say more people have been contacting them to alert them to drugs offences over the past few months.
This, they say, has helped them target their resources more effectively in a bid to bring down drugs-related offences.
The news comes as figures produced for the police authority show the number of recorded drug offences in the county has risen.
Between April and September there was a 4.6% hike, compared to the same period last year. This equates to 1,380 offences to last year's 1,319.
But in Ilkeston the number of offences has rocketed by 47.2% and by 33% in Derby South.
Inspector Nick Daines is in charge of policing in Ilkeston.
He said: "I very much see the rise in recorded drugs offences in Ilkeston as a positive thing and it is a direct reflection of the additional proactive work we have been doing to target drug dealers.
"It would be completely wrong of me not to thank all those in the community who have provided us with information, either directly or through Crimestoppers.
"We can't always act immediately but no piece of information is ignored and very often several small bits of intelligence can fit together and give us enough to take things further."
The figures show that, in Ilkeston, there were 106 drug offences between April and September this year. In Derby South the figure jumped from 57 to 76 compared to last year. Derby East, Long Eaton and Derby West have all shown drops, while Derby North has seen a rise of 7.8%, meaning 14 more offences.
Inspector Paul Cannon, who is in charge of policing in Derby South, said: "Drugs bring misery to the people who use them and to the communities that have to suffer the results.
"Through information the public have given us we have been able to target areas where there has been drug activity. We also know that drug dealing and use is linked to other crimes such as burglary and thefts from cars so we have also concentrated resources and additional officers to those areas too.
"An increase in recorded drug offences is a positive thing and shows that we are taking those reports from the public very seriously."
The figures say Derbyshire is the 15th lowest out of the 43 forces in England and Wales for drugs offences.
Tomorrow, the police authority will discuss the figures when its strategic policing committee meets at the force's Ripley headquarters.
Philip Hickson, chairman of the authority, said: "The increase in the number of offences is clear evidence that an increasing amount of work is being undertaken to tackle drug crime.
"Members of the public have made it clear that drug offences are one of their top priorities and the authority and the Chief Constable are committed to a tough approach to drug dealing in Derbyshire. I hope the public will be encouraged to see this type of crime being addressed."