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

Police in Sheffield city centre during a crackdown on dealing spice
Police in Sheffield city centre during a crackdown on dealing spice

A new operation targeting organised crime has had a successful first few months, seizing well over hundreds of drugs and 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 8127 grams of cannabis, 148 grams of heroin and 94 grams of crack off the streets

- Seized £10,420, seven vehicles and one firearm

- Arrested 25 gang members, of which 12 were jailed for six and a half years

- Referred 15 children and eight adults to safeguarding

- Disrupted more than 50 gangs through housing, trading standards and immigration

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

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 percent 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.”

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. 

He 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.”