Surrey Police launch engagement event to tackle drug use and crime in Woking
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Police officers in Woking are tackling a rise in drug use and possession in the borough head on, with the launch of a dedicated drug awareness event set to run over two days at the end of this week.
The event which will take place at Wolsey Park Shopping Centre in Woking on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 of July, from noon to 3pm each day, will include information stands manned by various local drug charities.
The campaign, the first of its kind in the borough and in collaboration with Surrey County Council, came to life after the local neighbourhood team conducted extensive research into drug use and crime in the borough over a two year period (January 2019 to December 2020).
What they found was shocking – during this period 577 people were stopped in possession of drugs and 179 of those stopped were under the age of 22 years old. The overwhelming majority of those found in possession of drugs were male, with females only accounting for 2%. Worryingly, the amount of reported drug offences in Woking has increased by a whopping 13.3% since April of this year, compared to the same period last year.
With this in mind, the aim of the event is to engage with the youth of Woking to prevent drug use and potential exploitation, through education and awareness.
Charities such as Fearless, the youth service of CrimeStoppers, Catch 22 and Catalyst will be present at the event to talk through their invaluable services and offer confidential support to any members of the public who may be worried about drug use, think they may be being exploited by drug dealers, or just want to learn more about the potential effects of drugs.
PC Tony Charles, organiser of the event, said: “This is a brilliant initiative where we can go directly to the public, speak to them in a safe and confidential environment and educate about the impact that drugs can have on not just the user, but their family too.
“Drug crime is something we take extremely seriously and we are doing all we can to reduce the impact and prevalence of this in our local community. Other things we have been doing to combat this include: focused police activity, a wider focus on intelligence gathering, engagement with local schools and anonymous surveys of the young people of Woking.
“We are really looking forward to the event on Friday and Saturday and if you are around, please pop by and say hello!”
Newly appointed Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Ellie Vesey-Thompson, will also be attending on Friday to lend her support and talk to local residents about any concerns