Police dogs on patrol in drugs operationBy Jennie Slevin
March 08, 2013
Police dogs were on patrol in Wokingham town centre on Friday night as part of a crackdown on drugs in pubs and clubs.
Officers started at The Gig House, in Denmark Street, at around 10.30pm before moving on to the Red Lion and The Roebuck, in Market Place.
PC Paul Bentley, leading the operation, said: “Running something like this shows we have a good visible presence.
“We don’t tolerate and we will not tolerate drug use.
“The licensed premise holders don’t want drug abuse in their clubs so they’re happy for us to be there.
“We go in and let them know we’re going to be carrying out searches on people the dogs pick up on.”
The 16 officers split into two teams, one taking a dog into the bar to pull out suspects, and the other targeting people leaving.
Dan O’Mahony and Nigel Pitts joined the team with their dogs, black Labrador Sam and Blue, a yellow Labrador.
The two men were part of the dog team at City of London Police for 18 years before retiring and moving to a private hire security company.
Mr Pitts said: “We work at a lot of different events, we take the dogs to football matches, live music events and often work with police teams.”
Throughout the night officers searched a number revellers and found small amounts of cocaine and cannabis.
Special Constable Holly Runham said: “It’s been quite a demanding night.
“The dogs can pick up such tiny scents so even if someone has trodden in a drug they could pick it up.
“We get people complaining and saying they’re innocent but if they haven’t got anything on them then they don’t need to worry about it.
“We’ve gotten a bit of resistance from some people, as you can imagine we do when people have been drinking but it’s been a good night.”
Mr Pitts added: “We’ve been fairly successful tonight, we’ve found some cannabis and a white powder which someone dropped, but it’s not all about that. It’s about creating a presence and putting people off using drugs.
“As soon as people see us they send texts to their mates to let them know we’re about and it makes people think twice.”
The team carried out 11 searches within The Gig House and issued one section 27 order, which forces a person to leave a public area and not return for 48 hours.
A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly but later released without charge.
n Visit www.getwokingham.co.uk for video of the operation.