Last week I participated in one of the biggest single event operations Gloucestershire Constabulary has ever conducted.
Around 100 officers were involved, including Special Constables and multiple armed units, 20 deployment vehicles, with specialist search teams and dogs, plus drones overhead. We do not need many operations of this size and complexity within Gloucestershire, as we are a relatively safe County, so it was very reassuring to see first-hand this wide range of capabilities available and on display.
After a long search lasting all day, items taken away from the site at Naas Lane in Quedgeley included thousands of pounds in stolen goods, a vehicle, three high value electric bikes, electrical equipment, 300 bottles of champagne, two shotguns a dismantled firearm and two loaded crossbows.
Equally disturbing was the discovery of 11 dogs. It is thought at least three were stolen and a fourth was due to be reunited with its family. Some of the dogs were in need of much better care and animal welfare officers from the RSPCA and Stroud District Council were called-in.
For various reasons, it was difficult to immediately identify offenders, so no arrests were made on the day, but inquiries continue.
“A very good day’s work for the police and our wider community”
The operation was conducted very professionally and with great precision. A great deal of planning went into ensuring success, whilst minimising the risks to all involved. Our officers searched with sensitivity, explaining everything to the community, but with firm determination to identify any firearms and weapons on site, wherever they were concealed, and take them out of circulation permanently.
My deputy and I are always keen to attend specialist and routine operations, as together with our regular visits to police stations and attendance on day-to-day patrols, it allows us to understand shortfalls in equipment and resources, which helps in the creation of a budget and establishment that will meet the needs of front line officers much better.
I have been very clear that I expect the streets of Gloucestershire to be safe for law-abiding citizens, and for criminals to know that we will not tolerate their activities in our County. Operations like this are an excellent demonstration of that commitment in action.
It was a very good day’s work for the police and our wider community.