Earlier this week East Sussex County Council outlined the success of Project Adder, the government funded drug-busting initiative that sees Hastings share a £148m funding pot that aims to tackle and reduce drug-related harm and deaths in five key areas across the UK. Not to be overshadowed by their council partners Sussex Police has issued a press release explaining the success of Project Adder and how it is impacting the town’s drug problem. Councillor Carl Maynard says the issues are so big that they cannot be addressed by one organisation alone.
It’s Sussex Police’s proud boast that 33 people have been arrested for a range of drug-related offences since January as part of Project Adder.
Hastings is one of five areas in the UK to benefit from a share of £148million and the scheme is set to run until March 2023 and is led locally by East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police
Project Adder puts an increased focus on enforcement action against those involved in drugs production and supply, says Sussex Police who say that it also tackles the safeguarding those who are vulnerable and at risk of exploitation and offers treatment and recovery from those suffering addiction.
Detective Superintendent Till Sanderson says: “Tackling drug-related harm is one of our key policing priorities in Hastings, and Project Adder is greatly supporting the work we already do in this area. While it is still early days, the results so far are extremely promising.
“We have been able to step up our efforts in offering support to drug-users, as well as increasing capacity in Neighbourhood Enforcement Teams and detectives to tackle the supply of drugs in the community.
“With such positive early results, we are confident that this project can make a real difference to the town, the lives of people currently dependent upon illicit drugs, and those exploited by drug dealers.”
The funding from Project Adder – which stands for Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery – has enabled police to carry out additional patrols and dedicated days of action in the Hastings district to identify and take action against any drug-related activity.
Those arrested so far include:
A 28-year-old man from Hastings was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, along with a 16-year-old boy after 76 wraps of Class A drugs were found in his underwear.
Following the discovery of a large cannabis factory in Hastings, four men were arrested and around 400 plants along with cultivation equipment were seized and destroyed by police.
A 23-year-old man from Hastings was arrested.
Two men from Hastings and a 16-year-old boy were arrested, and £350 along with 54 wraps of Class A drugs were seized after plain-clothed officers witnessed a suspected drugs deal in the town.
A 33-year-old woman from Hastings was arrested after police seized 102 wraps of suspected Class A drugs.
A 38-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man from Hastings along with a 16-year-old girl from Croydon were arrested by plain-clothed officers after they witnessed a suspected drugs deal. Around £400 of cash was seized in addition to suspected Class A and B drugs.
As well as enforcement action, an important part of Project Adder is safeguarding children and vulnerable people who are at risk of exploitation, and police say they have been working closely with partner agencies to ensure these people are supported and protected.
Counllor Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for adult social care and health, said: “Drug deaths, high rates of drug use, and the antisocial and criminal behaviour it brings to Hastings are not things that can be addressed by one organisation alone.
“Project Adder gives us the opportunity to build on our partnerships and the funding has enabled us to put in place measures that will address all the issues related to drugs use, providing support for people to recover from drug addiction.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I’m pleased that this funding and new partnership approach to increasing recovery support and tackling drug offences is already having such a positive impact.
“Helping people with their addiction, stopping exploitation and arresting those responsible, helps to break the cycle of the criminal behaviour that fuels the drug economy.
“Working with an array of local agencies, we are able to make a real difference to the safety of our local communities and I look forward to hearing more of the successes of this project in the future.”