Convoys of police units pounced on a string of Lincoln properties this morning, arresting a man and two women on suspicion of crimes including weapons offences.
The Lincolnite went to a briefing at West Parade police station on Monday morning before accompanying officers, and various specialist units, on a raid in Welton Gardens in the Ermine area of the city.
Reporters watched as officers quickly surrounded the property, ramming the door and climbing through windows to surprise their suspect, but nobody was home at that address. A scene guard was later put in place.
The majority of the departments at Lincolnshire Police were involved in the planning and the operation.
Tactical support and dog units attended two other addresses Chatterton Avenue and Lytton Street.
A suspect was arrested at Lytton Street before being put in the back of a police van. The man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs.
Two women, one aged in her 20s and another in her 50s, were also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs during Monday morning’s raids.
A number of weapons were also seized and detailed searches were carried out at all three properties.
The raids were carried out as part of Operation Raptor – Lincolnshire Police’s intelligence-led dedicated campaign to tackle weapons offences.
Since it was launched on October 21, more than 30 people have been arrested and more than 30 weapons have been seized, including knives, guns and baseball bats.
The action is mainly targeted in Lincoln, Gainsborough, Sleaford, Grantham and surrounding areas.
Superintendent Lee Pache told The Lincolnite: “We are identifying people who are carrying and using weapons such as knifes, hammers, baseball bats, but also firearms to commit offences. Intelligence identified these individuals and as you’ve seen today we’re executing a number of warrants against those individuals to search, seize and arrest.
“Most recently, about 150m from where we’re stood (near Lytton Street), we seized a sawn-off shotgun that was loaded and cocked ready to go a few days ago. We’ve seized multiple weapons including knives, machetes, baseball bats, claw hammers, you name it.
“People are using weapons and carrying knives far too much, so as as a consequence of that we are pulling resources together, putting intelligence together, so that we can do something positive and and remove this from the streets.”
Nationally and locally there has been a rise in weapons offences. In England and Wales during the year to June 2019, there was a 16% increase in possession of weapons offences.
The average number of incidents per 100,000 people in Lincolnshire involving knives stood at 35, according to figures published last month. This is a 15% increase, year-on-year.
Operation Raptor is the Lincolnshire Police response to those increases, with almost every single department at the force involved in the planning of Monday’s operation.
Superintendent Pache added: “I think what’s really important to state is Lincoln and Lincolnshire is still a very safe place.
“It is still a very rare event, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels, we’re not complacent, and because we have seen an increase, we need to do something about it.”
More raids will be carried out this week and there will be an increased stop and search across Lincoln, West Lindsey and Lincolnshire.
A weapons surrender was also launched on Monday as part of Operation Raptor, in which people can hand in weapon to the county’s four main police stations.
In addition, the force’s licensing team will complete test purchasing at various stores in the west area over the next few weeks. They will also use specially-designed ‘wands’ to check for weapons among those attending bars and nightclubs.