The Isle of Man Constabulary is continuing to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs in the local community, with a number of notable seizures being made over the past three months.
Heroin, cocaine and cannabis with a combined value of more than £215,000 have been removed from the Island’s streets since the middle of November following a series of raids by the police’s Proactive Team.
The Manx force is working closely with Merseyside Police and other key partners to try to prevent illicit substances entering the Island from the United Kingdom. There were 15 arrests at the Island’s ports for drug-related matters during 2015, with substantial amounts of cash being recovered.
Tip-offs received from members of the public are also providing vital intelligence to support the Constabulary’s efforts to combat importation and supply.
The Chief Constable has said that stopping the ‘evil trade in Class A drugs’ remains one of his main priorities. In addition to making large, one-off seizures, officers adopt a range of other tactics to dismantle supply networks, such as using financial investigation powers and making early arrests for possession.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘The Isle of Man takes a robust stance against drug crime and those involved in trafficking can expect lengthy prison sentences. The police have made some significant seizures and several arrests in recent months and are continuing to work proactively to safeguard the quality of life the Isle of Man is rightly proud of.’
He added: ‘There were six drug-related deaths in the Isle of Man in 2015, which highlights the devastating impact that drugs can have on a community. People can play a part in keeping their neighbourhoods safe by passing on information that assists our intelligence gathering process. A strong sense of community responsibility will make it harder for drug dealers to avoid detection.’
As well as seeking deterrent prison sentences for serious drug crime, the Department is developing alternative methods of dealing with offenders at the lower end of the scale – those caught in possession of a small amount of drugs for their own use, who have no relevant previous convictions. Home Affairs is working with the Departments of Health and Social Care and Education and Children as part of a joined up Government approach to the issue.
Minister Watterson commented: ‘The success of our drugs education programmes shows that addressing underlying issues and behaviour can often be the best way to prevent reoffending. The police have the ability to register people on the drug arrest referral scheme without them having to enter the detention and custody processes. This allows officers to deal with minor offences in a more pragmatic way. I think there is a growing acceptance that in certain cases treatment rather than punishment will have the greatest overall benefit for our community.’