From left, PC John Wright with PC Adam Brown, PC Nigel Allen, SC Jamie Wareing, PC Matt Brading with his dog Connie, PC Paul Neill, PC Stuart D'Costa, PC Ben Mitchell, PC Paul Dixon and PC Craig Robins. Picture by Robin Crossley.
THE latest stage in an operation to detect and disrupt the supply of illegal drugs on the Isle of Wight took place at the weekend.
Specialist officers, dogs and their handlers carried out searches of people in Newport on Saturday as part of Operation Viper.
As part of the operation officers with sniffer dogs and electronic equipment that can detect traces of illegal drugs are being used outside pubs and clubs.
A spokesman said it was part of a plan to tackle violent and drug related crime ahead of Christmas.
Isle of Wight District Chief Inspector Nick Heelan said: "The illegal drugs challenge facing police on the Isle of Wight is no different to anywhere else in the UK.
"We want the Isle of Wight to remain a safe place to live and visit, and protect the community from the harm caused by illegal substances.
"The importance of this issue is recognised by the agencies we work alongside within the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership, which is funding these operations.
"This type of police activity outside pubs and clubs is a tried and tested tactic, and we welcome the co-operation and support shown by members of the public, licensees and businesses since the latest series of searches started earlier this autumn.
"Disruption and detection operations are just one aspect of our approach to tackling drugs crime.
"We will also continue to work with partner organisations to offer treatment to those identified with drugs problems, and educate communities about the risks of substance misuse."
Anyone with information about illegal drugs affecting the community can contact police by phoning 101. Mini-Com users can call 01962 875000.
Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
For more on this story see the Isle of Wight County Press on Friday, November 23.