Hundreds of arrests and cash, weapons and drugs seized in first year of Project ADDER
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Police working under Project ADDER in Hastings have disrupted 30 Organised Crime Groups and arrested more than 370 people in the year since the initiative was announced.
Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) was launched by the Home Office at the start of 2021 with the aim of reducing drug-related crime and protecting people from harm.
In the year since its launch, more than 600 Organised Crime Groups have been disrupted nationally, with almost 10,500 arrests and £3.5m in cash seized across England and Wales. More than 13,000 people have also been supported in drug treatment interventions delivered by outreach workers.
In Hastings alone, officers have made 479 arrests and seized £45,719 in cash. They have executed 45 drug warrants in the town and shut down five county lines. As well as 578 drug seizures, they have also seized 368 weapons including 172 knives.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall of the Hastings Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "Project ADDER has made a real difference in tackling drug supply in Hastings. Since April 2021 we've executed nearly 50 search warrants in the town and arrested dozens of people on suspicion of drug trafficking offences.
"We've been able to deploy officers in plain clothes on a regular basis and we are seeing an increase in support being provided by our partners for people struggling with drug addiction.
"I'm glad to see Project ADDER has now been extended and look forward to being able to deliver further results like these in targeting those who sell drugs and cause harm within our community."
The initiative sees police working closely with East Sussex County Council to address the town's high rate of drug deaths and heroin and crack cocaine use. In the year since its launch, the project has seen a reduction in the number of unplanned exits from treatment and a drop in the number of people receiving opiate substitute therapy and who are not using illicit opiates on top. Currently, there are 70 people being supported through drug treatment interventions.
Welcoming the results, Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for adult social care and health, said: “Drug deaths, high rates of drug use, and the anti-social and criminal behaviour it brings to Hastings are not things that can be addressed by one organisation alone, and we have seen over the last year what can be achieved through successful partnership working.
“Hastings sadly has one of the highest drug-related death rates in the country but the work being made possible by Project ADDER funding has enabled us and our partner organisations to have a positive influence on the issues related to drugs use in the town.
“By working together to tackle drug-related crime and harm, I am confident we will continue to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people in Hastings.”
Hastings is one of 13 project sites for Project ADDER, which the Government has pledged to continue funding until 2025. See here for more information on the programme.
Drug-related crime can be reported to police online or by calling 101, or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.