New police team seizes huge haul of drugs, cash and criminals in Sheffield

A new operation targeting organised crime has had a successful first few months – seizing drugs, cash and locking up dozens of criminals.

Operation Fortify is a multi-agency approach by South Yorkshire Police and was launched in October 2018.

Between starting and December, officers have taken 8,127g of cannabis, 148g of heroin and 94g of crack off the streets.

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They have also seized £10,420, seven vehicles and one firearm and have arrested 25 gang members, of which 12 were jailed for six-and-a-half years.

A total of 15 children and eight adults were referred to safeguarding and officers disrupted more than 50 gangs through housing, trading standards and immigration.

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, presented statistics at a recent safety scrutiny committee meeting showing the city was below the national and South Yorkshire average for crime.

Chief Supt Stuart Barton said they were ahead of the national trend but it was sometimes a challenge to reassure the public.

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He said: “We are trying to push a positive message but it is very difficult sometimes when you have a knife culture outside of Sheffield.

“There has been a 12 per cent reduction in knife crime in Sheffield but no other city has seen that.

“We have invested a lot of time, energy and effort to try and reassure people. We should be proud of it, because there aren’t many cities that are seeing the amount of reductions we are.”

Coun Steinke said: “Sheffield is one of the safest cities in the country, we are below average in terms of crime and we aim to decrease it even more. The performance of Operation Fortify so far shows it’s been a successful first few months.”