It’s team­work as cops tar­get crim­i­nals

Op­er­a­tion Ve­netic marks start of crack­down by new com­mu­nity unit

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STACEY MULLEN

PO­LICE have been put back into the heart of the Castlemilk com­mu­nity to tackle crime – and they made their mark yes­ter­day by car­ry­ing out raids in prop­er­ties as­so­ci­ated with sus­pected drug deal­ers.

Op­er­a­tion Ve­netic saw two homes raided un­der war­rant si­mul­ta­ne­ously, with of­fi­cers hope­ful of find­ing hauls of heroin and Val­ium that their in­tel­li­gence sig­nalled was be­ing sold from the premises.

The op­er­a­tion was led by Sergeant Mark Donachie, who heads up the new unit, which in­cludes six of­fi­cers hand-picked to tackle crime in Castlemilk.

He was joined by De­tec­tive Sergeant Phil Kennedy from the CID pro-ac­tive unit, which works to dis­rupt se­ri­ous and or­gan­ised crime across Glas­gow.

The drug raids were just the start of a day of ac­tion that aimed to show lo­cal peo­ple of Castlemilk their new com­mu­nity cops have well and truly ar­rived.

Mr Donachie, an of­fi­cer for 17 years, said: “We are back in the heart of the com­mu­nity and we are vis­i­ble to re­as­sure the pub­lic.

“Op­er­a­tion Ve­netic was pulled to­gether be­cause of the vol­ume of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, dis­or­der and vi­o­lent crime that was syn­ony­mous with the area.

“We are vis­i­ble to re­as­sure the pub­lic, but we want to en­cour­age them to con­tact us and not sit in si­lence in their houses, putting up with an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

“Let us know where the in­ci­dents are hap­pen­ing, what times and what it is that is go­ing on so we can build our strat­egy round about that.

“We can also tie in with our part­ner agen­cies to over­come prob­lems. But we need to en­cour­age peo­ple to start re­port­ing crimes be­cause a lot does go un­re­ported.”

The Op­er­a­tion Ve­netic team are based at Castlemilk po­lice of­fice as part of a six­month pi­lot that started in April. Since the team was formed, there has been a 10 per cent re­duc­tion of crime in the area and long-term prob­lems af­fect­ing res­i­dents have been tack­led.

Un­der-age drinkers booz­ing in Castlemilk Park were dis­rupted when the team con­tacted the coun­cil’s Land and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices to cut over­grown foliage, which has now made the of­fend­ers more vis­i­ble to po­lice on pa­trol.

The unit also works closely

with lo­cal vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. They check on them in their homes to en­sure their abusers are not breach­ing any bail con­di­tions that pro­tects them.

Al­though the crimes be­ing tack­led by the team vary, it is the old-fash­ioned ethos of com­mu­nity polic­ing that guides their ethos.

Mr Donachie said: “I was brought up in a scheme so am very aware of stereo­typ­ing.

“The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in Castlemilk are re­ally good, hon­est and nice peo­ple, but

We are back in the heart of the com­mu­nity and we are vis­i­ble to re­as­sure the pub­lic

you have a mi­nor­ity – like you have any­where – and these are the ones we are out to tar­get. We are here to tar­get the ones who are com­mit­ting crime and of­fences that is to the detri­ment of the rest of the com­mu­nity.

“That is why we ap­peal to the com­mu­nity to get us in­volved, have con­fi­dence in us to re­port stuff, and we will go out and take own­er­ship of it. We will go out to drive and make that dif­fer­ence.”

The last 12 months has not been easy for peo­ple i n Castlemilk. There have been sev­eral high-pro­file crimes, in­clud­ing the mur­ders of Jamie Lee and Haider Hayat and at­tempted mur­der of a group of kids tak­ing place.

These cases are now sub­ject to crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings.

Chief In­spec­tor Ross Al­lan, the area’s top po­lice of­fi­cer, said: “I am com­mit­ted to an en­hanced polic­ing pres­ence in Castlemilk.

“My prob­lem-solv­ing team and Op­er­a­tion Ve­netic of­fi­cers are vis­i­ble, highly proac­tive, have close re­la­tion­ships with key part­ners, and con­tinue to de­liver and de­velop strong re­la­tion­ships with the com­mu­nity. My of­fi­cers are com­mit­ted and ded­i­cated, along with our part­ners, to im­prove the life of the peo­ple who are liv­ing here.

“They are equally pas­sion­ate about iden­ti­fy­ing and ro­bustly tar­get­ing in­di­vid­u­als who have the in­ten­tions of com­mit­ting acts of vi­o­lence and dis­or­der, anti-so­cial be­hav­iour or who, with­out any con­cern for peo­ple’s lives, sup­ply drugs.

“We will con­tinue to tar­get them.”

Sergeant Mark Donachie, who led yes­ter­day’s op­er­a­tion, was brought up in a hous­ing scheme

LEFT: Chief In­spec­tor Ross Al­lan said of­fi­cers will con­tinue to tar­get anti-so­cial be­hav­iour

The po­lice unit will be tar­get­ing crime in Castlemilk

An of­fi­cer moves into a house that has been raided

Pic­tures: Jamie Simp­son

Po­lice of­fi­cers force their way into a prop­erty yes­ter­day as the crack­down be­gins

Calm be­fore mov­ing in ... the unit at the po­lice of­fice

Po­lice chiefs with the new unit

An of­fi­cer guards one of the raided homes

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