West Midlands Police has released video footage showing officers using a chainsaw to slice open the door of a suspected drugs den in Birmingham.
Officers from the force’s Specialist Organised Crime Unit forced entry to a flat in Aston on Wednesday (23/07) following intelligence that a group of violent teenagers had exploited a vulnerable female resident and taken over the property to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
A woman in her 20s was detained inside the premises, where a quantity of what’s believed to be cocaine plus drugs paraphernalia was recovered. Enquiries are on-going to trace teenagers who are aged between 15 and 18-years-old.
The woman was later released while enquiries continue.
Earlier in the day officers from the Birmingham Organised Crime Unit smashed their way inside a house in Ladywood which was suspected of being used by a drug dealer; no-one was arrested and enquiries continue.
Earlier this year West Midlands Police doubled the strength of its Birmingham Organised Crime Unit in a move underlining the force’s determination to get under the skin of city gangs.
Twenty officers were drafted into the specialist taskforce to enhance its capability to better understand the make-up of gangs, disrupt their activity and strike swiftly to make arrests.
And they’ve had some stand-out successes in just the first few weeks with the arrest of more than 80 people, many of whom have links to gangs, for drugs and firearms offences, vehicle offences and money laundering.
Officers in the unit carried out 114 stop searches in the first six weeks, executed 19 warrants at addresses, seized 19 vehicles and a stash of weapons.
But there is also a preventative arm to the unit aimed at diverting vulnerable young people away from crime, influencing them to make positive life choices and to offer support for people wanting to exit gangs.
Superintendent Tom Joyce heads up the unit. He said: “Officers assigned to the team are ring-fenced to tackle organised crime in all its forms − from street gangs involved in violence, drug dealing, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
“The extra resources allows us to be more proactive, increasing our patrols, executing warrants and really getting in the faces of people with suspected gang links, letting them know we’re out and about looking for them.
“Only last weekend we recovered a revolver, a viable firearm, and £74k in drugs. On a daily basis we are in key areas, stopping and searching people and vehicles we suspect could be linked to organised crime.
“The new team also offers the chance to tackle the real driver of organised crime: money. We will be doing more work with financial investigators in our Economic Crime Team, as well as partners such as HMRC and DWP to strip offenders of any cash or assets they may have made through crime.
“Working with our communities is vital in our mission to tackle organised crime. We hear from residents who are sick and tired of drug dealing and drug use in their communities and we’re taking action.
“If anyone suspects someone in the community is linked to crime, dealing drugs or carrying a weapon then please contact us in confidence. We don’t need your name, we just want information so we can make communities safer.”
You can contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat on the West Midlands Police website or by calling 101 anytime. Alternatively, information can be passed to the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Callers won’t be asked for their names and calls cannot be traced.