Mids to Mersyside – 80 drug arrests

A new policing unit set up to disrupt drug activity from the Mids to the North West has seen more than 80 arrests in a month, according to British Transport Police.

It’s a joint operation with Merseyside Police throughout the north west of England and at Liverpool Lime Street station.

The taskforce, funded by the Home Office, aims to tackle drug gangs couriering drugs and cash across the rail network and their exploitation of children and vulnerable people.

This latest operation is one of many at transport hubs across England, Wales and Scotland, with 80 people being arrested by BTP officers since the team began in December 2019.

In two months, nearly £20,000 in cash and a host of Class A and Class B drugs have been seized alongside deadly weapons includnig knives, knuckle dusters and a shotgun.

The stats mirror a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services which highlighted BTPs work on County Lines.

It praised the force for its efforts, including its work to identify vulnerable people involved in County Lines, its training of railway staff on the issue, and its work with the Railway Children charity.

The operation today was combined with a series of morning raids at homes in Merseyside and North Wales, with officers searching homes of suspected drug dealers.

Raid teams from North Wales Police, Merseyside Police and British Transport Police were all involved.

Also in attendance was Home Secretary Priti Patel, who witnessed first hand the collaboration between BTP and other forces in tackling County Lines gangs.

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Chief Constable Paul Crowther from BTP, said:
“We are the specialist force for policing the rail network and my officers have great experience in tackling issues which span the nation, such as county lines. We have seen first hand the devastating impact these exploitative gangs have on young people, and we are determined to disrupt this criminal activity. 
“Since the founding of the county lines taskforce we have seen excellent results, with 80 gang members being arrested and drugs and other potential lethal weapons being seized. With each arrest comes valuable intelligence on how these corrosive gangs operate, and likewise we can help safeguard exploited children from harm. 
“Thankfully, the rail network continues to be a low crime environment, and with this Home Office funding, we will continue to take decisive action to shut down trafficking networks.”  

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