ICTS Support Drugs Awareness Operation In Witney

The Community Safety Partnership in West Oxfordshire recently won IFSEC’s “Best Policing Partnership 2011” award for its work in managing the night-time economy. The award was attributed to the work carried out primarily between WODC , Thames Valley Police and ICTS Canine Division.

ICTS Canine Division works throughout the country, in conjunction with various police forces, supporting drug search duties through the provision of both pro-active and passive search dogs.

The latest combined operation aimed at highlighting the fact that drugs will not be tolerated in licensed premises in West Oxfordshire has just been carried out. The operation was organised between Thames Valley Police, West Oxfordshire District Council’s Community Safety and Licensing Team, RAF Brize Norton and ICTS, the later both providing dog search support. Local licensees supported the activity which involved premises being searched by drugs dogs, with officers taking swabs in locations that have previously indicated an issue with drug usage.

Witney Team Police Sergeant Tony Leach, who ran the operation said: “Two teams of police and licensing officers visited various premises in Witney, Carterton, Chipping Norton and Woodstock to conduct full license checks. Drug swabbing was carried out at four premises in Witney town centre; three came back with higher than average results so we will be working with these licensees to educate them on drug usage in their premises, and how to prevent it. Swabbing was also carried out at four premises in Carterton but none of these showed any problems which is good news. The drugs dogs were taken to six licensed premises in Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Woodstock and all the premises passed. Whilst conducting our searches in Witney, a 21-year-old man from Thorney Leys, Witney was arrested and bailed for possession of class B drugs. A 20-year-old man from Swan Court, Witney was also arrested and bailed for assault on a member of staff at a licensed premise.”

Cllr Verena Hunt, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership said: “West Oxfordshire does not have a serious drug issue, mainly due to the active partnership working between the police, district council and local licensees. The Community Safety Partnership supports and assists licensees in reducing drug usage on their premises and we run these high visibility operations to show the public the joint work we are doing to reduce crime and disorder. We often receive positive feedback from people who are pleased to see us tackling this important issue.”

Police Area Commander Chief Inspector Colin Paine summarised in saying: “This is all about making people feel safer, working with licensees and reassuring people on a night out. It’s great to see people making a fuss of the search dogs, although a few people always look a bit anxious! These are often the ones we are interested in. Witney really is a safe place to go for a night out – and the partnership is working hard to keep it that way.”

ICTS Operations Manager, Jed Marshall added: “It is always a pleasure to work alongside Thames Valley Police and West Oxfordshire District Council. Our handlers are confident that the advance joint planning between these two organisations ensures that the evening runs seamlessly and effectively; a true example of responsible partnership policing.”

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