6,000 years in jail for criminal kingpins and their associates
Four tonnes of illegal drugs removed from the streets
Hundreds of guns and over 1,000 lethal rounds of ammunition taken out of criminal hands
Over 2,000 vulnerable adults and children safeguarded
Gangsters in England and Wales have been jailed for almost 6,000 years after specialist police cleared the streets of several tonnes of drugs and lethal weapon hauls in just 12 months.
Specialist anti-gang units took three tonnes of cocaine, one tonne of cannabis, millions in dirty cash and hundreds of guns off the streets in the year 2022/23, leading to 5,827 years in prison for dangerous offenders.
Throughout the 12 month period, the nine Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) in England and Wales pursued those behind organised crime groups involved in the importation of drugs, people and weapons, and other serious criminal activity.
In addition to huge amounts of cocaine, cannabis and heroin, units seized firearms, ammunition, and millions of pounds in cash. Recorded seizures of firearms and drugs are considerably higher than 2021/22, with significant year-on-year increases in safeguarding of both adults and children.
Over 12 months, the work of these specialist units resulted in:
2780kg of cocaine seized
926kg of cannabis seized
256kg or heroin seized
5827 years handed out in prison sentences
£3.2m in dirty cash seized
271 guns seized
1395 rounds of ammunition seized
1672 children safeguarded
453 adults safeguarded
£10m in restraint orders issued
Chief Constable Steve Jupp, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Serious and Organised Crime, said:
"Hundreds of lives will have been saved with the removal of these lethal drugs and weapons from our streets. The public can be safe in the knowledge that dangerous criminals who once blighted their communities are now behind bars for a very long time.
"These operations not only successfully disrupted significant amounts of criminal activity, but the intelligence gathered will also help inform future police activity across the country.
"This can only be done with the help of our communities. It is by listening to them and working together to solve these problems that we bring offenders to justice, protect victims, safeguard neighbourhoods and ultimately build trust amongst those we serve.
"In areas where police work in partnership with the public and our partners, criminal gangs cannot win, they cannot thrive and they will not survive for long.”
Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for ROCUs, said:
“The ROCU network plays a significant role in dismantling dangerous criminal organisations and those behind them, along with stopping hazardous drugs and weapons from making their way onto our streets.
“It is our mission to protect communities from the most dangerous individuals. We consistently target and apprehend the high-level criminals heading up organised crime groups causing untold misery through their own greed, and who often exploit young and vulnerable people to do the dirty work they aren’t prepared to do themselves.
“The work of these units often goes unreported and happens away from the public eye, however the results from last year show just how significant an impact they are having.
“We will continue to confront criminals and the threat they pose head on. There is nothing glamourous about serious and organised crime. Our message is simple, if you are involved in this criminality we will find you.”
East Midlands Special Operations Unit
More than a dozen drug dealers were directly involved in an illicit operation that saw Nottingham flooded with 10kg of Class A drugs from different parts of the UK over a seven month period.
The two drug gangs used encrypted messaging apps to coordinate their illegal business and communicate with other suppliers, buying cocaine and heroin in bulk which was then sold onto local drug dealers and users.
Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit
Three men faced trial as part of an investigation into the first manufacture and supply of 3D printed firearms between organised crime groups within the UK.
Following the seizure of a viable 3D printed semi-automatic machine gun, ammunition and two partially built firearms, two men from Bradford and a third man from Hull were charged with conspiracy to possess and supply prohibited firearms and ammunition.
Tarian – South Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit
The leader of an organised crime group was arrested and charged with supply of Class A drugs following a search at his home in Newport, which found drug paraphernalia and burner phones.
Intelligence also suggested he was actively recruiting children as young as 12 to work as drug runners. Police and partners began a proactive operation using numerous undercover tactics and search warrants to identify members of the organised crime group and their associates.
The kingpin was charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and two counts of human trafficking of a child.
Seven further subjects pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, one of which also pleaded guilty to the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015 - arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation.