OVER £1 million of illegal drugs have been removed from the streets of Aberdeen as part of a pioneering police crackdown, it was revealed today.
The staggering total was announced by the Grampian Division of Police Scotland as teams of police officers struck at addresses across the city this morning in a series of dawn raids as part of the latest phase of Operation Maple.
More than 40 officers were involved in the joint operation in which drug search warrants were carried out at addresses in the Kincorth, Torry and Rosemount areas of the city.
Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson, Police Scotland’s Aberdeen City Division Commander, said: “We are delighted by the success we’ve seen both today and over the course as part of Operation Maple.
“Since its launch we’ve seen over £1 million of illegal drugs removed from the city’s streets and more than 400 people arrested. It’s easy to let those statistics speak for themselves but they are more than just numbers however and their removal has made a real and tangible difference in our communities.”
He continued: “We should be absolutely clear though that none of this could have been achieved by the police alone. The role that our partners have played has been important but it is the willingness among communities themselves to stand up and offer information that’s really been crucial to the success of this initiative.
“Operation Maple is their operation, it was set up to give them a voice and enable people to challenge criminals whose behaviour, if left unchecked, can have such a damaging effect across an entire area.”
Chief Superintendent Watson added: “I want to take this opportunity to assure the public that Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe and seeing Operation Maple go from strength to strength.
“We will be relentless in our pursuit of these criminals and, with specialist support now available to us from across the country; we are better equipped than ever before to stop drug dealers from peddling their misery in our communities.”
Officers also revealed that a ground-breaking intervention scheme, introduced as part of the operation, could now be implemented across Scotland after it led to 84 per cent of those arrested for drug offences to either cease or significantly reduce their offending.
Chief Inspector George Macdonald, who has operational overview for the initiative, explained: “Operation Maple embraces the greater picture and takes action to address the root causes of criminal activity in our communities. We cannot achieve this in isolation and this is why integrated working with the NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Council is crucial.”
He said: “We’ve made breaking the cycle of offending central to the Operation Maple strategy, introducing the new cell block intervention scheme which involves officers working with our partners at the point of arrest to identify existing areas of need, risk and harm and guide them into an appropriate support service.
“Since its introduction a year ago we have seen 584 voluntarily take part in the scheme, with around 84 per cent either ceasing or significantly reducing their offending. That is a considerable achievement and really positive news both for the individuals and the community as a whole.”
The Aberdeen City Division of Police Scotland said a total of eight people had been detained for drug related offences following the series of raids.
The drugs seized included cannabis and crack cocaine. A spokesman added: “During the execution of a warrant a cannabis cultivation was discovered, dismantled and plants seized. So far five people are expected to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court tomorrow.”