Forth Valley CID chief vows to continue crackdown on drug dealers

Police have raided homes across Falkirk district this month resulting in almost 30 arrests for drug offences
Police have raided homes across Falkirk district this month resulting in almost 30 arrests for drug offences

The man at the helm of an ongoing operation to catch drug dealers said officers will be “unrelenting” in their quest.

The Falkirk Herald spoke to Detective Inspector Johnny Dreczkowski at the headquarters of the Police Scotland’s Forth Valley Division in Stirling last week about Operation Core and its results from early morning raids on houses across the district since it launched on September 3.

Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson

Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson

The operation is a four-month long campaign focusing on drug dealing, violence and road safety. So far there have been almost 30 arrests for drug dealing offences in homes in Falkirk, Grangemouth, Bonnybridge, Bainsford, Langlees and Camelon with police confiscating heroin, cocaine, cannabis and diazepam worth thousands in street value, thousands of pounds in cash as well as firearms.

This is in addition to the £3 million of assets including cars, jewellery, houses, cash, businesses and properties the division has seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation.

Det Insp Dreczkowski, who is in charge of the drug investigations, has 20 years of service to his name from agencies like the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) to his current role in Forth Valley’s CID.

He said: “Operation Core is unrelenting and will be for its duration. For us, Operation Core is simply responding to the concerns of the communities we serve.

“Broadly speaking we are committed to responding to those concerns of the communities through a robust enforcement approach to drugs supply and also those who are involved in serious organised crime because both are intrinsically linked.

“As you know drugs supply is linked to violence, disorder and serious organised crime and that’s why it underlines the importance for us that we respond to that threat and risk on behalf of communities.

“I’m delighted with the results so far.

“Investigations are very much a rolling process and it’s not just about the one-off targeting of individuals because there are some who will get back out and start to pick it up again, but we will get that intelligence again and it will be a repeated target of them until they get the message that this area you are living in, this problem will not be tolerated.”

He added: “Operation Core is massive – you have the staff dealing with the intelligence, 13 or 14 staff and that’s not including the analytical support round about that; the staff in the engine rooms and the various area commands who help us join that together with the area commanders and the community inspectors.

“They are driving the machine which is the enforcement phase and allowing those opportunities to happen by drawing together everything of a particular individual or group and where their weaknesses are to get into them.

“I think the public can be comforted that the people who are organising this have that background and know exactly what they are dealing with and exactly how to tackle it and that’s borne out with some of the results you see in Operation Core and that will continue to be the case.”

Help us to help your communities

Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson, the Local Area Commander for the Falkirk area, said tackling the sale and supply of drugs is a top priority for the Forth Valley Division and Police Scotland.

Following the arrests which saw thousands of pounds of illegal substances taken off the streets, she has also pledged to keep communities safe from drugs and has appealed for help from the public.

She said: “The arrests were due to information gathered from the local community that we were able to affect these arrests and we thank the public for helping us bring about these arrests. We would appeal to the public to keep providing us with information, which will allow us to target this type of criminality.

“We will continue to target those individuals who cause misery in our community through the sale of controlled drugs and will work relentlessly to bring them to justice.”