CRIME: Extra lawyers to handle mass drug arrests

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A TEAM of prosecutors has moved into a city police station to deal with the mass arrests resulting from drugs crackdown Operation Harrier.

A TEAM of prosecutors has moved into a city police station to deal with the mass arrests resulting from drugs crackdown Operation Harrier.A TEAM of prosecutors has moved into a city police station to deal with the mass arrests resulting from drugs crackdown Operation Harrier.

In an unprecedented move, two junior barristers and an officer from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have been drafted in to work at Bridge Street police station.

So far, about 60 people have been arrested and 41 people charged with offences, including the supply of Class A drugs, as part of the city's biggest-ever drugs operation.

Today, Detective Inspector Jeff Hill, who is leading the crackdown, said the legal team was vital for the quick and efficient prosecution of suspected drug dealers.

Det Insp Hill said: "This is short-cutting the system and the team has been brought in because of the sheer scale of the operation.

"The CPS is handed the files for suspects the evening before they are arrested so we are in the position to consider the nature of any charge or remand issues immediately after interview."

The team is made up of junior barrister John Lloyd-Jones, trainee Dan Leader and John Elliot, a case worker for the CPS.

Mr Lloyd-Jones is junior to barrister Martin Beddoe, who will be senior prosecutor in court cases resulting from Operation Harrier.

Mr Beddoe was also prosecutor in the case of Jason Dowell (35), Daniel Hewitt (29), Karen Tomlinson (38) and Lorraine Dowell (55), who were jailed earlier this year for a total of 17 years for conspiracy to supply 2.7 million of cannabis.

Detective Sergeant Paul Beeby, who is responsible for putting together the prosecution cases, added: "It is unprecedented to have legal professionals on board at such an early stage. It has been a tremendous benefit and hopefully the cases will go through a lot more quickly."

The police force is working closely with Peterborough City Council, and social services staff are on hand following raids to take drug dealers' children into foster care.

Example to the UK

CITY MP Helen Clark today said Operation Harrier was providing an example for police forces across the country.

As reported in The Evening Telegraph, detectives believe the Government-funded operation is already having a "significant impact" on Peterborough's drugs trade.

Mrs Clark said: "I would like to congratulate the police for this successful operation which is being closely watched by police forces up and down the country.

"It is important now to follow this up with

targeted drugs education and support services for which there must be adequate Government funding."

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