Police focus on drug dealers as reports of “brazen” street dealing increase in South Yorkshire

Complaints of increasingly “brazen” drug dealing, with offenders exploiting younger and younger children are being made from within South Yorkshire communities, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

By Paul Whitehouse Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 11:38
Dr Alan Billings

South Yorkshire Police have been cracking down on drug dealing, with new tactics in the last year that have included closer working with councils and the courts to impose closure orders on addresses allegedly used by dealers.

A report to Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings’ Public Accountability Board said: “This is a targeted tactic, which has provided some positive results recently of note in addresses in Pitsmoor and Rotherham.”

However, Dr Billings told the meeting: “I have had local councillors come in to the office saying they think it is getting more brazen, dealers are dealing with younger and younger people and getting them involved. Can more be done?

“It is an area that is beginning to grow as an area of concern from councillors and community groups,”

“Even police driving through the area has the effect of disrupting people.

““It is an area that is beginning to grow as an area of concern from councillors and community groups,” he said.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said it was reassuring that people had the confidence to report their concerns about drug dealing and said there would be more opportunities to disrupt the trade as increasing numbers of police constables, with more enforcement powers than their PCSO colleagues, were introduced into neighbourhood policing teams.

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Other work would involve projects with other public bodies to identify the groups involved in drugs and provide ‘wrap around’ packages to get them away from the trade and criminal society which goes with it.

“Drugs is a driver of criminality,” he said.

“Putting them in front of a court for a monetary fine is almost wholly counter-productive.”

Dr Billings is wanting to put money available through his office into schemes such as providing martial arts or boxing clubs, which will attract those who otherwise may find themselves lured into the world of drugs through having time on their hands.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson added: “When people are openly dealing, it brings lots of bad things, a sense of lawlessness and gives the lie to the idea that police teams are trying to square things up.

“The absolute expectation is that we will act on information like that. If we have the information we will be hoofing people’s doors through and searching out people dealing drugs. That is our commitment.”