Police Constable Daniel Allen has been combating illegal drug use and drug dealing in Hemel Hempstead since joining Hertfordshire Constabulary via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme.
PC Allen joined the service in the summer of 2020, after working as a social worker in a mental health hospital and later as a school counsellor.
PC Allen said: “Class A drug use and drug dealing has been a major problem within my ward. A lot of the people involved are often incredibly vulnerable and at risk of exploitation. This also leads to further drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
“In order to address this, I led high-visibility police patrols in hotspot areas to act as a deterrent for potential dealers and buyers. I also worked with colleagues and non-policing agencies to build a wider patrol network and gather intelligence on persons of interest.
“Through intelligence gathering, we realised that many of the identified drug suppliers appeared to be linked to county lines operations or larger organised crime groups. We focused patrols further in these areas and issued a number of warrants. We are also working with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) team to provide further possible surveillance, to produce more vital evidence and intel.
“Agency and police awareness is important but it is also vital to make the public aware of the legality and consequences of drug use. I ran an awareness campaign to educate the public on drug offences and their consequences, and also worked with local homeless shelters where we had identified drug users. We spoke with them to get an understanding of the support offered by staff and care workers, and to offer individuals the help they needed.
“Since all this work, we have seen a huge reduction in reports of drug use across my ward and, although there are multiple contributing factors, I have also seen fewer incidents of drug-related crime. You really can make a direct impact on people’s lives and your community as a neighbourhood officer, even early on in your career.
“I think Police Now really pushes this problem-solving approach to tackle issues at their roots, whist offering support and structure throughout your application process and subsequent career.”
Police Now has partnered with Hertfordshire Constabulary for five years and has recruited a total of 61 police constables to the force to date.
The National Graduate Leadership Programme is a structured, two-year programme which trains graduates to become leaders in neighbourhood policing. Officers on the programme work in neighbourhoods across England and Wales to transform communities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and increase the public’s confidence in the police service.
Applications for the programme have now opened, alongside the launch of the Home Office’s new advertisement campaign which calls on people to ‘join the police to make a difference.’