Police operation targets anti-social driving and drug dealing in Burnley and Pendle

An operation to clamp down on anti-social driving and drug dealing in BUrnley and Pendle has already resulted in a number of arrests.

The ongoing operation, which began last week across Burnley, Nelson and Brierfield, has so far seen 37 vehicle checks carried out, three speeding tickets issued and three arrests of people suspected of people being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Other stops were made for offences including driving without a seatbelt, without insurance, parking offences and driving without a number plate.

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The new Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Andrew Snowden, joined officers and the Burnley Express on one of the days of action in Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley.

Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden joined neighbourhood officers PC Lorna Baldwin and PC Mark Dibbs on the operation in Brierfield and surrounding areas

Sgt Lyanne Smedley said: "Members of the public locally are getting very annoyed with certain offences being commited, particularly around anti-social driving and drug dealing. There is an attitude that the streets are lawless and we want to change that mindset, and this operation will help.

"These issues have not been policed robustly enough over the years. Local commuinities want to see 'a bobby on the beat' and so hopefully this operation will have a visual impact in that regard.

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"A generation of kids have never seen a police officer in a positive way and so this operation will not just be about enforcement, but also education. In terms of enforcement, we are asking for help. We're only as good as the community intelligence we receive."

Police forces across the country, inclduing Lancashire, have suffered from cuts over rfecent years, which has seen officer numbers decline, something which the new PCC told the Burnley Express would be reversed by new investment.

Mr Snowden said: "I can 100 per cent guarantee tthat by the time I leave office there will be more officers across Lancashire than there are now. I will be utilising the local precept and government funds to make this happen.

"Targeted weeks of action such as this are really important because they concentrate the mind and resources on issues the public care deeply about. People want to feel their streets are controlled by the police, not criminals.

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"A zero tolerance approach has my complete backing, but we also have to break that generational link of criminality which is where the education side of the operation comes in."

And nowhere is that more important than in the shape of neighbourhood officers who have dedicated large chuncks of their career to getting out and interacting with the public.

One such officer the Burnley Express met on the operation was PC Lorna Baldwin whose commitment to help break that chain was evident in the passion in which she spoke about the job at hand.

"We have to break the culture and speak to the young people about the consequences of their actions," she said.

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"There is an issue in parts of Burnley and Pendle with young Asian males driving very powerful cars in a very dangerous manner. This has been going on in this area for more than 20 years.

"A lot of it is bravado and a way of hanging out with friends, but we have to teach the young people to do it safely and responsibly.

"We have to go into the mosques and schools and get this message across. It is all, about engagement, education and enforcement. A lot of the young people have no idea of the consequences of driving in an anti-social manner. As a parent myself it worries me."

PC Baldwin revealed that the police were working the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service in taking the wrecked remnants of a car from a fatal road crash in East Lancashire out to schools in a bid to show young people the very visual and real consequences of dangerous driving.