Last year police officers in South Devon seized over £1m of drugs and cash across the region.  

A specialist team of officers seized over one million-pounds worth of drugs, along with cash totalling £129,837 earned through criminal activity. Forty-four dangerous weapons were removed from the streets, and 137 pre-planned disruptions were carried out.

The crime investigation department, proactive policing team and neighbourhood officers policing the communities of South Hams, Teignbridge and Torbay played an essential role in protecting its communities through targeting drug-related crimes, organised crime groups and antisocial behaviour.

Planned disruptions included vehicle searches, warrants, and high visibility patrols. They worked closely with the roads policing teams, other forces, and specialist operations departments, using ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and dedicated investigators targeting the movements of illicit drugs.

The team of specialist officers responsible for disrupting dangerous drug networks completed over 80 safeguarding visits to check on vulnerable individuals thought to be victims of ‘cuckooing’. Cuckooing is when a person’s address is taken over by a criminal and used to prepare, store or deal drugs. A total of 67 arrests were made following police searches and safeguarding visits authorised as part of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Chief Superintendent Roy Linden, Devon & Cornwall Police said: “I am aware there is still more to do. We have clear local priorities for 2024 and our teams will be working closely within the community to address and action these.

“We understand how important it is for our officers to be visible on the streets. To target this, a plan has been implemented to enhance foot and vehicle patrols during busy peak hours with times and locations changing regularly. With these measures, we aim to improve our visibility, both as a reassurance to the public, but also as a deterrent to any potential offenders looking to commit crime. 

“Another local priority is our response times to immediate 999 calls and 101 crime reports. Arriving on scene to protect and support those in need as quickly as possible is a huge area of importance.

“Support for our victims is at the heart of policing and we know we don’t always get this right. Being a victim of crime can be frightening and disempowering, and we want all victims to know that their needs will continue to remain at the forefront of our investigations. We would also like to reassure victims of domestic abuse, rape and serious sexual offences that they are a priority, and they will be provided with safeguarding and specialist support, and that throughout 2024 we will relentlessly pursue perpetrators of these offences.

“We’re so proud of everything our teams have achieved over the past year to make South Devon a safer place, and some of the achievements from 2023 illustrate the breadth of positive action taken by those who police our shared communities. We wouldn’t have been able to make such an impact without the support of our local communities and partner agencies; they have worked with us to support community solutions to help keep South Devon a safe area to be. 

“I would also like to acknowledge the support of our volunteers and Special Constables who dedicate their own time to support South Devon. Special Constables served over 10,000 hours last year alone. Their commitment is of great value to our areas and we would actively encourage anyone else interested in this role, to make contact with us via the D&C website.

“If you see our officers out and about, please do come up and have chat – it’s lovely to meet the people who we’re here to protect.”