Police have seized 1,200 deal-sized amounts of class A and class B drugs, along with £2,650 in cash, 22 burner phones and three knives in a crackdown to clean up the Dallow area of Luton.
And 11 people were arrested in the first fortnight of action in the Dallow Cares campaign – a community-focussed initiative to help the area thrive - with an initial wave of enforcement activity to tackle some of the concerns raised by the local community.
Meanwhile Luton Council took part in high visibility patrols in local parks searching for items that could cause harm to park users – and found a number of illegal deposits of waste which were reported and removed.
In addition, the council’s Trading Standards and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) visited several shops in Dallow and seized illicit vape pens and cigarettes, while providing guidance on several other areas.
‘Dallow Cares’ which was named by children at Dallow Primary School, is hoping to galvanise the local community and ensure a safe place for residents to thrive by tackling crime and promoting participation and pride.
Following initial discussions with local community groups and residents, particular concerns around drug dealing, knife crime and the criminal exploitation of young people were highlighted, along with wider issues that negatively impact life in the neighbourhood such as parking, litter, and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
During the first fortnight of action police also undertook warrants at six addresses and gathered substantial intelligence related to a range of potential criminality.
It is the start of a long-term plan involving local agencies working alongside voluntary and community organisations.
Two engagement events with community groups and residents focussed on solutions to issues such as knife crime, drug-related criminal activity, and diverting young people away from crime and violence.
Officers took part in foot patrols, engaging with residents around environmental issues such as fly-tipping. Civil enforcement officers carried out several patrols and enforcement.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “It has been really inspiring to speak with residents in Dallow and understand how passionate they are about their area and their dedication to helping it - and the people who live and work there - to thrive.
“Our initial operational activity has led to some really positive results and again comes on the back of working alongside the local community and other stakeholders. We will now be looking to develop this even further by working hard to stop criminality and prevent people from being drawn into it in the first place.
“But we increasingly see with these types of issues that this is not just a policing problem. We cannot arrest our way out of this.
“We know that for the campaign to succeed we will need to continue to work hard as a partnership to help Dallow flourish.”
Vicky Hawkes, Neighbourhood Services Manager at Luton Council, said: “It’s so important for us to engage with local people when carrying out this kind of work so we can get to the bottom of issues that are important to them.”