WATCH: Police out in force to tackle drugs and violence on nights in Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police headed out in force at the weekend to tackle drug use and knife crime in the city.
A total of 70 officers headed out in a chain on Friday night, led by a passive drugs dog and trainer from West Midlands Police.
Superintendent Paul McCurry said: “Operation Sidewinder is designed to protect the vuInerable people that may come into our city centres, but also to reduce knife crime and drugs which we know is a causation factor of violent crime in city centres.
“We want people to go home after an enjoyable night feeling safe and knowing that the police are there to protect them.”
The large scale operation targeted alcohol misuse, violence reduction, drug use and underage purchasing.
Supt Paul McCurry t old the police that he wanted to get the force out onto the streets and talking to door staff, businesses and people out enjoying the evening.
He said: “Operation Sidewinder is really important and I’m so grateful for the team in the City Centre that has designed something that’s completely different for Sheffield, taking in best practices from some of our other cities.
“I’m really proud to serve here in Sheffield - it’s a great city, there’s a safe night time economy and it's a great place to come out. We want people to come to Sheffield and keep safe.”
Two-year-old drugs dog Dash had undergone ten weeks of intensive training and takes part in 15 top-up training days each year.
One office on patrol said: “This is the first time I’ve worked with a drugs dog but we often work with police dogs- they are great. They’re the best asset we have”.
The team carried out 12 stop and searches and detained a 24-year-old man who is wanted in connection with multiple offences, including harassment and breach of restraining orders.
The night saw 13 arrests for a range of offences, including possession with intent to supply cannabis, driving over the prescribed limit and being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
Traffic officers were also out in force, assisted by an off-road bike team which patrolled major routes.
This resulted in the seizure of two vehicles and 11 traffic offence reports were issued.
Inspector John Mallows said: “It is first and foremost a drugs operation, but it is also showing itself to be a vital tool in other ways, including the prevention of violent crime.
“You will be seeing more of Sidewinder in Sheffield over the coming months.”