DI Andy Greaves

SURREY Police have reacted vigorously to claims by the BBC that drugs crime is increasing in towns such as Woking, while at the same falling significantly in city centres.

“People may have seen a recent news story about drug gangs operating away from cities and in more rural areas instead,” said T/Det. Supt Mark Chapman.  “This is part of so-called county lines activity that we take very seriously and are working hard with other agencies to address.

Detective Inspector Andrew Grieves, the Woking Borough commander, wants to create a “no go” area for drug dealers

“County lines activity, which involves organised crime groups bringing drugs into more rural areas to sell, is a national issue.

“We employ a number of tactics to reduce drug-related harm and to disrupt this activity, including covert tactics, proactive patrols at train stations, drugs dogs and patrols on major routes in and out of the county.”

Police in Woking have been prominent in the fight against county lines activity.

Detective Inspector Andy Greaves, the Woking Borough Commander, has stated that tackling drug supply and its associated violence is his main priority, and he also cited the knock-on effects of drug crime, among them burglary by users to fund their habit.

Police officers and a sniffer dog on patrol at Woking rail station as part of Operation Barricade

There have been substantial police operations at Woking station to detect and disrupt those bringing in drugs and weapons to the town, notably in May when the police presence was so large that commuters believed there had been a major incident.

That followed Operation Barricade, a five-day initiative at the station last December, when drugs and weapons were once again the target.

More than 130 people were stopped and searched after possible signs of drugs were picked up by sniffer dogs. Nine arrests were made, three weapons seized, there were eight drug warnings and stolen property worth £300 was recovered.

DI Greaves has said that he wants to make Woking a “no-go area” for drug dealers.

“My message is that, if you want to come into Woking and want to supply drugs, we will identify you and, where possible, prosecute you,” DI Greaves added.

For the full story get the 15 August edition of the News & Mail

WOKING borough commander Detective Inspector Andy Greaves has said targeting drug-related crime is the priority for local police.

“Drugs are the threads that affects so much crime in the borough,” he told a community meeting in Knaphill last week.

Woking borough commander Detective Inspector Andy Greaves

DI Greaves said this included drug-related violence in the town centre, especially some of the takeaways in Chertsey Road and in surrounding streets where people had been stabbed and seriously injured.

“Walton Court in Sheerwater is a hub of criminal activity, including drug-dealing violence. We have obtained a number of closure orders to protect vulnerable residents from gangs coming in, particularly from London and South Coast.”

“Walton Court in Sheerwater is a hub of criminal activity, including drug-dealing violence. We have obtained a number of closure orders to protect vulnerable residents from gangs coming in, particularly from London and South Coast.”

The Knaphill meeting had been called because of concern about a rise in antisocial behaviour and thefts in the area. DI Greaves added that while reported crime had reduced by 1.5% since last year, there were significant spikes, including a 5.3% increase in drug-related violence and a 7.4% rise in domestic violence.

For the full story get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail