Passive drugs dogs took to the streets of Barrow this weekend as part of a policing operation that saw over 600 people ‘scanned’ for illegal substances.
Barrow Neighbourhood Policing team joined forces with dog handlers and their two passive drug dogs on Saturday 10 July to conduct searches at eleven licensed premises. Passive drug detection dogs are specially trained to patrol crowded areas quietly indicating when they detect the scent of illegal drugs on a person. This indication then gives the police the ability to search individuals and take action if drugs are located.
Around 680 people were ‘scanned’ by the dogs during the course of the evening which led to 15 people being searched by officers under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Towards the end of the operation, a man was approached and after a dog indicated that he may have an illegal substance on his person, he was searched and two tablets were found. The 30 year old man from Barrow was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and taken to the police station. He received a caution for the possession of two ecstasy tablets.
Sgt Paul Madden said: “Saturday night was a very successful evening and around 680 people came into contact with our valuable drugs dogs.
“We have built up a good relationship with local licensees who now approach us if they suspect that illegal drugs are being brought into their premises. The majority of licensees welcomed the operation and saw it as something that was both necessary and proportionate to tackle the misuse of drugs within the town.
“Many owners of pubs and clubs need support to help tackle the misuse of drugs in their premises and this operation enabled us to do just that – while demonstrating that in fact the vast majority of customers are law abiding.
“High profile operations like this reassure local people that we are listening to their concerns, while sending out a strong message about our attitudes to the misuse of drugs in the area.
“We are constantly reviewing and refreshing our tactics used to tackle drugs in our communities to keep up to date with our most recent intelligence that suggests where and when people will be using or dealing drugs. We will plan more operations like this in the future so revellers should get used to seeing us out and about on the streets and in pubs and clubs.
“If anyone has any information about drug use in their area, they are asked to call Cumbria police on 0845 33 00 247. We need our communities to act as additional eyes and ears and any pieces of information relating to illegal drugs can help us to paint a picture of problems in our area.”
PC John Bunting works in the Constabulary’s dog section and helped to coordinate the operation. He said “This was a very positive operation which demonstrated to the wider community just how effective our passive drugs dogs can be in the fight against crime and in the detection of offences. The number of positive indications, culminating in an arrest for drug related offence, goes to show that the dogs are capable of finding very small amounts of drugs on a person.
“In light of this, and other scanning operations, we will be looking to develop our tactics and training even further to ensure these dogs remain a valuable resource in combating the distribution and use of controlled drugs in our county, and we will definitely be running similar operations in Barrow in the near future.”