The man in charge of the police force in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough says drug issues in the county are keeping him awake at night.
Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said covert officers are working around the clock to catch dealers while police are “doing plenty enough to get under the skin of these people”.
Mr Ablewhite was responding to a question from Cllr Dave Baigent at Monday’s Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel.
Romsey member on Cambridge City Council Mr Baigent said: “We have an epidemic of youth offending, drug dealing and knife crime in the region. People in my constituency are telling me that they have filmed evidence of drug-dealing, sent it into the police and then nothing has been done. What are you going to do to address that issue?”
Mr Ablewhite replied: ”The drug issue in our region is the only thing that honestly keeps me awake at nights, and we are coming down very hard indeed on drug and drug-related crime in our area.
“It is incumbent on all of us to report on issues in our local areas. If drug-dealing is going on report it and we will respond. I can only respond if the public do so as well.
“In respect of the people you say have sent drug-dealing on video to the police, I will look into that, but I can say that we now have covert intelligence teams working around the clock to eradicate drug dealers as soon as they pop up.
“But this is not only a policing problem. If there were no drug-addicts in our region then the drug-dealers would have nobody to sell their drugs to. So that must be addressed as well.
“In the meantime leave the work to our covert intel teams and we will bring these nasty people to justice; we are making it more and more difficult for drug-dealers to get into our area and believe me when I tell you that we are doing plenty enough to get in under the skin of these people.”
North ward member on Peterborough City Council Cllr Ansar Ali said he is also regularly talked to about speeding by the people he represents.
Mr Ablewhite replied. “Over the coming 12 months we will be updating our speed-detection equipment and putting into effect much tougher policing to tackle speed and speeding in our region.”
Ramsey member on Huntingdonshire District Council Cllr John Palmer wanted to know: “What is being done about the growing problem throughout the region of ram-raiding cash machines?
“Just recently near my constituency a cash-point was ripped out of the wall for the second time at the Co-op, but by the time the police got there the thieves had long gone.
“What is the response time for such acts?”
Mr Ablewhite replied: “If you look at any coverage area for a given police station then response times for incidents vary depending upon where vehicles are at the time of crime, but on average response times to a 999 call should be in the region of 15 minutes.
“Sometimes it will be quicker, sometimes it will be longer, but in terms of response in Cambridgeshire our officers are right on that average.
“With regard to the theft of ATMs we have a specialist ATM team now and I take rural crime of this nature very seriously indeed.”