As part of the day of action, 62 people were arrested for various drugs, weapons and disorder offences, effectively removing them from the streets. Officers also uncovered a cannabis cultivation, seized a variety of offensive weapons including knives and a home-made machete, and confiscated a four-figure sum of money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Operation Fleet, which took place on Friday January 9 2009, aimed to tackle and reduce levels of violence, drugs, disorder and antisocial behaviour through high-profile policing and enforcement. The crackdown, involving more than 340 local and specialist officers from units such as the Violence Reduction Task Force, mounted and dog branches, and road policing also aimed to target serious and organised crime, domestic abuse and those committing road traffic offences in the area.
The major operation is one of the largest police and partnership initiatives to target violent crime and disorder in line with the ongoing Force-wide campaign against violence. Throughout the day, officers from across South Lanarkshire targeted areas of concern in Lanark, Hamilton, Blantyre, Uddingston, Bothwell, East Kilbride and Rutherglen which had been identified by local communities. South Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards and Environmental Services, British Transport Police, Security Industry Authority, Immigration Services and the Vehicle and Operators Service Agency also backed the operation.
The day began in the early hours of the morning with simultaneous raids on the homes of individuals suspected of being involved in criminality. As a result, more than 315 cannabis plants were discovered at a property in Rutherglen. A 41-year-old man was arrested and subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal. A large number of warrants were executed, curfew and domestic bail checks were carried out, and police and licensing board staff conducted a number of test purchases whilst visiting some 203 licensed premises.
Throughout the day and night, high visibility uniformed police and plain clothes officers patrolled the streets on foot, while road policing unit carried out ANPR checks at sites across South Lanarkshire, targeting uninsured drivers. More than 340 people attending Hamilton Sheriff Court or travelling from Hamilton Central Railway Station were scanned using a Ferroguard mobile metal detector in a bid to reduce the amount of knives and other weapons on the streets of South Lanarkshire. Operation Fleet aimed to reduce the level of fear within local communities and provide public reassurance.
Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Tim Love, said: “Violence, disorder and all aspects of antisocial behaviour remain a high priority for the police and our partners throughout the South Lanarkshire area. Working closely with our communities and partner agencies plays a key part in deterring, disrupting and detecting the type of criminality which can have a negative affect on the wellbeing of the community as a whole. Information gathered through consultation with residents, community representatives and local businesses allowed us to target areas of concern at a local level during Operation Fleet. Issues such as antisocial behaviour, gang activity, youth disorder, road safety, combined with the many illegal activities which help fund serious and organised crime such as drug dealing, were all be actively and effectively targeted as they no doubt have a detrimental effect on our community and the fear of crime.”