British police have arrested more than 1,000 people and seized more than 180,000 cannabis plants as part of a recent crackdown on illegal marijuana cultivation. The eradication campaign, dubbed “Operation Millie” by British law enforcement officials, was carried out throughout June and involved all police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, according to media reports.
Steve Jupp, Chief of Serious Organized Crime at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said: told reporters He said the operation was “successful in deterring a significant amount of criminal activity.”
Operation Millie was the largest anti-cannabis campaign to date, with more than 11,000 police officers across the UK taking part in a month-long campaign. The National Crime Service and the Immigration Service were also involved in the operation, with more than 1,000 warrants executed during June. Of the more than 1,000 people arrested, 450 have since been charged with crimes.
In addition to some 200,000 cannabis plants seized during Operation Millie, police also seized between 15 and 20 firearms, about 40 other weapons and £650,000 (about $825,000) in cash. Police have estimated the value of the seized cannabis plants at £130m, but some have suggested that such estimates by law enforcement are often inflated.
Compulsory investigations targeting criminal organizations
Police said the operation was carried out not only to eradicate illegal cannabis cultivation sites, but also to disrupt organized crime groups that use the funds generated by the operation to fund other criminal activities. Other crimes such gangs have committed include money laundering, violence and Class A drug trafficking, all of which, according to the National People’s Congress Committee, are crimes that “destroy the community.” . In the UK, cannabis is designated as a Class B drug, while potentially addictive and dangerous substances such as heroin are listed as Class A drugs.
“We know that the organized networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to a range of other serious crimes, including class A drug importation, modern-day slavery, and widespread violence and exploitation. ‘ said Jupp.
Police said illegal cannabis growers use buildings of varying sizes as their places of business, and illegal cannabis farms have been found in buildings ranging from vacant homes to large industrial estates. In many cases, the site is dangerous because the operator is stealing electricity, creating a fire hazard. Some areas are also affected by water damage and heavy smoke.
“Not only has the operation successfully deterred a significant amount of criminal activity, but the information gathered will also help inform law enforcement agencies across the country in the future,” Jupp said. “While cannabis-related crime is often thought of as ‘low-level’, there are clear patterns in the exploitation and violence that organized crime groups use to protect businesses. It’s just one aspect of criminal activity, and we know they’re complicit in a wide range of crimes that are destroying our communities.”
UK police chiefs call for drug decriminalization
Late last year, the NPCC announced it was developing a plan to effectively decriminalize drug possession, including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, low-dose recreational drug use and possession would be treated as a public health problem rather than a criminal offense that could be prosecuted and punishable by prison or other penalties for first-time offenders.
The proposal, developed by the NPCC and the Police University, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs, including cocaine, and Class B drugs, such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals caught with illegal drugs would be offered the opportunity to participate in drug education and treatment programs rather than being prosecuted.
Police will take no further action on those who agree to complete the program and will give them the opportunity to avoid a criminal record. Those who fail to complete drug programs or are subsequently arrested for illegal drugs remain subject to criminal prosecution.
Former NPCC Narcotics Officer and former Deputy Chief Constable, Jason Harwin, is working with the National Police Academy on a new partial decriminalization strategy.
“No one should be criminalized for possession of drugs,” he said in a statement. telegraph paper. “They should turn to other services to give them the opportunity to change their behavior.”
Fourteen of the UK’s 43 police departments have already adopted policies similar to drug decriminalization proposals by police chiefs across the country. But the plan is at odds with the country’s Conservative government, which has proposed tougher penalties for recreational drugs, including cannabis.