Civilians taken on Manchester police drug raids


More than 130 civilian "witnesses" were taken on dawn drugs raids today which have so far led to over 50 arrests.

Police swooped on the homes of those suspected of drug dealing across Manchester.

They were watched by more than 130 members of the community, who, in a first for Greater Manchester Police, were invited along so they could witness first-hand how police are putting a stop to drug dealing in their neighbourhoods.

Observers included residents, people from local schools, community centres, business owners and councillors.

Hundreds of officers were involved in the raids for Operation Audacious, which took place just after 6am, including specialist officers from Greater Manchester Police's tactical aid, mounted, dogs and firearms units, as well as divisional and neighbourhood officers.

Over the past few months, officers have been building intelligence passed on by the local community about those who are suspected of street drug dealing, culminating in the largest single drugs strike that GMP has carried out in one day.

Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, Divisional Commander for North Manchester, said: "Cracking down on drugs in our communities is a big priority for GMP and I hope today shows the people of Manchester just how seriously we are committed to this cause.

"Drugs are a major driving force behind many other crimes such as burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, and that is why we are determined to root out all those involved in this trade, from the addicts to the sellers to those who are bringing the drugs in."

Anyone can follow the progress of Operation Audacious throughout the day via Twitter, at #OpAudacious.