It’s teamwork as cops target criminals
Operation Venetic marks start of crackdown by new community unit
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
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