A CRACK new policing team has been drafted in to tackle drugs and anti-social behaviour across south Devon.

The Neighbourhood Support Team will work closely with communities across the region to tackle specific short and long terms problems affecting local people and businesses.

Their aim is to target suspects, reduce offending and prevent crimes from happening in the future.

Chief Inspector Miranda Pusey, who leads the neighbourhood police teams across South Devon, said: ‘The dedicated resource is an absolute asset to our policing teams across South Devon. 

‘The NST police officers work in a different way to those who respond to emergency 999 calls and 101 reports; this team are called in to help solve short- and longer-term problems which are affecting whole communities. 

‘This can range from anything to an increase of vehicle thefts in a particular area, drug dealing in known locations or ASB in high footfall public areas.’

Their role is to provide an increased presence in neighbourhoods as a reassurance to local communities and to deter crime. 

Police say the team will carry out high visibility foot patrols, house-to-house enquiries to encourage residents to report issues, and targeted enforcement activity, such as stop searches, to disrupt criminal activity like drug dealing.

Ins Pusey addedL ‘Problem-solving and preventative police work like this already takes place across communities, led by the local neighbourhood officers. 

‘But with the additional support from the NST, it means our neighbourhood officers can amplify the positive impact of the work that already takes place in local areas - making a positive difference, quicker.’

Sergeant Matt Gill, who heads up the NST, said: ‘I am looking forward to seeing what we’ll be able to achieve as a team. We are stepping up our activity to target criminals and make our communities safer.”

‘But, without your reports it makes it harder for us to understand crime trends such as hotspot locations, days and times. So please, continue visiting our website to report a crime or pick up the phone to call 101. 

‘Your reports are an essential step in helping us make communities safer.’