From Devon & Cornwall Police:
Operation Loki, Devon & Cornwall Police’s neighbourhood policing operation, resulted in over 150 arrests and over 100 drug seizures.
Amongst the arrests were various offences including anti-social behaviour, drug offences, being drunk and disorderly and assault.
The drugs seized had a street value of over £6,000. The seizures included cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin.
First launched on 20 March, Op Loki was the Force’s response to dealing with ASB, targeting key areas including Torquay, Exeter, Barnstaple, Plymouth, Truro and Falmouth. After success in Torquay, the operation was also expanded to Paignton.
Whilst the operation had a focus on anti-social behaviour and other activities that make communities feel unsafe, officers tailored their policing tactics to each area’s unique issues. This included high-visibility patrols, traffic operations and operations targeting drugs supply.
In Barnstaple, the operation was positively received by residents and traders. During April only 17 antisocial behaviour incidents were reported in the town centre compared to 33 during April 2022, a 48.5 per cent reduction. Overall, recorded incidents fell by 23 per cent which demonstrates the effectiveness of a visible police presence in the town centre and the neighbourhood policing team will take time to evaluate the long-term effects of the operation.
In Plymouth, neighbourhood policing teams across the city used Operation Loki to enhance community engagement by local policing teams. Officers engaged with thousands of people throughout the four weeks, listening to city residents about their concerns. The insight gained from this operation will enable officers to be more proactive in dealing with anti-social behaviour and making the streets safer for everyone.
Officers made multiple arrests and acted against irresponsible drivers in Truro and Falmouth.
Extra patrols in Truro city centre were well received, some of which were introduced with the backing of Safer Truro funding and the Bid partnership to safeguard women and girls in the community. Truro officers were regularly on foot patrol speaking to people, including retailers and licensees. Officers heard from the public about how important they feel it is to see officers in the city centre.
Engagement with communities saw pop-up police stations at locations in each town, giving people the opportunity to meet officers face to face, ask questions and give their views about local issues and priorities.
As part of the Mini Police initiative, a police engagement programme aimed at eight- to 11-year-olds, officers and PCSOs visited primary schools to talk about the damage caused by ASB, how people’s lives are affected by inconsiderate behaviour, and the importance of building strong communities.
One school in Barnstaple carried out a litter picking project as part of their community action, removing around 20kg of litter as they learned how negative behaviours can affect anyone of any age.
Although Operational Loki has drawn to a close, the Force plans to continue targeted neighbourhood policing. The achievements from Op Loki will be reviewed with the intention that it will develop and continue.
Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Glen Mayhew said: “Neighbourhood policing is always evolving. This is phase one of Op Loki and we will reflect on the results and look to see how we can repeat it in the future. The feedback on the impact has been positive and we will be working with communities and partner agencies to ensure this continues.
During the operation, officers worked with partners including local authorities and Trading Standards.
ACC Mayhew continued: “It’s important for us to have our communities at the heart of policing. We really appreciate the support and feedback we have had from the public in person and online. We know that people want the police to be visible and respond to concerns quickly and appropriately. We will continue to invest in and develop neighbourhood policing so that we can target our resources in the most effective way.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “These towns and cities have benefitted from additional investment because partners in councils and other institutes have worked together to secure considerable monies from the Government’s Safer Streets fund.
“Operation Loki demonstrates that Devon and Cornwall Police is prepared to do its bit supporting these partners and our communities by providing a visible and active police presence in these areas, where people have had enough of drug dealing and antisocial behaviour. I’m delighted by what has been achieved with Operation Loki, which has put police back on the streets where people want them.
“What we must do now is prove to these communities that the extra money they have invested in the force through taxation is going to make a positive, long-term difference to their sense of safety and wellbeing.”