Police dog Oscar's new beat is to sniff out in Torbay pubs

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By Herald Express | Friday, February 15, 2013, 07:00

A HIGHLY-TRAINED police dog is helping fight drug dealing in town centre pubs around Torbay.

The on-going police operation, code-named Operation Croft, uses sniffer dog Oscar, a passive drugs dog trained to detect the scent of narcotics on passers-by.

If he smells drugs, Oscar is trained to sit and wait to indicate to his handler, PC Geoffrey Turner-Moore, that the person either has drugs on them, or has been in contact with drugs.

Officers then carry out searches of suspects using their powers under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

PC Will Young, who is running Operation Croft with members of the Torquay and Paignton Town Centres Teams, supported by PCSOs, said: "This is a high-visibility, ongoing operation in and around the central business districts of Torquay and Paignton.

"The aim is to send out a clear message to users, dealers and licensees that drugs will not be tolerated in our town centres.

"The operation will be continuing in both town centres in the coming months.

"It is being run in conjunction with Operation Ambassador to improve the quality of life and safety of the public and improve the reputation of Torbay's night-time economy."



  • Profile image for sOnIcBoOm

    Grapenut, you are correct .. though of course if alcohol was to be classified as a drug then it would be placed in the class A category - currently the government is doing nothing to inform the public of this fact and is pretending that alcohol is safer than cannabis or ecstasy when it is not. Sniffing 'passers-by' seams like a way to arrest lots of otherwise law abiding people; not serious criminals.

    Interesting what you say about water, and I have read the article - another aspect could be to remind people to not mix alcohol and other drugs; and when using rave drugs they need to drink water, a sensible approach for harm reduction.

    This plan is to "improve the quality of life and safety of the public and improve the reputation of Torbay's night-time economy" - using a sniffer dog to single out unlucky citizens with soft drugs won't help, arresting a heroin dealer might act as a deterrent to others but the heroin problem has not gone away. I bet a lot of the rougher pubs wish the police would go away because its affecting their business?! Half their punters will go somewhere else when they sniff the 'old bill'.

    For a real reduction in the harms caused by hard drugs; we need to go back to a time before prohibition. To reduce the mess caused by excessive alcohol consumption is probably the hardest task right now.

    By sOnIcBoOm at 00:42 on 19/02/13

  • Profile image for Grapenut

    Sorry to state the obvious sOnicBoOm, but alchohol is not classified as a Class A drug. Undoubtedly it is lethal, the cause of numerous deaths in Britain each year and many experts feel that it should be reclassified as a drug, but currently it is legal to consume alcohol in the UK.

    Cannabis, on the other hand, is a Class B drug. Downgraded from Class B to Class C in 2004, it was upgraded to Class B in 2009. As such it is illegal to possess,.grow, distribute or sell it in the UK, and there are stiff penalties for unlicensed dealing, production and trafficking.

    Until the law changes, the police have a duty to fight all drug dealing - including cannabis - wherever they find that illegal activity, including town-centre pubs. That's why they are using all manner of innovative methods, including police sniffer dog Oscar.

    I agree with you that alcohol is a dangerous drug. It would be good if more pubs introduced free water dispensers in their bar areas. This would allow customers to regularly drink water alongside alcohol. This - as some pubs are now discovering - is a sensible move and may help in the fight against alcohol-related crime. (http://tinyurl.com/ax8c9jy)
    It would also be helpful if the price of soft drinks was reduced in pubs so that they are the same price as alcohol.

    So that's where we are. Until the law changes, cannabis is illegal and the police are right to root it out.

    By Grapenut at 23:56 on 18/02/13

  • Profile image for sOnIcBoOm

    On sale behind the bar is a class A drug which is involved in the deaths of 40,000 Brits every year and requires a police and ambulance presence everywhere it is consumed to protect the user and the public. Yet the police are putting their efforts and tax payers money into chasing members of the public who chose to smoke cannabis? Firstly it's extremely hypocritical, secondly it serves to criminalise a large section of the public, and it serves no purpose since being arrested rarely stops a drug user from 're-offending'. It's time we ended the indefensible and highly damaging war on drugs.

    By sOnIcBoOm at 20:25 on 18/02/13

  • Profile image for EdnaFruitcake

    You only have to go within 20 yards of a pub on Belgrave road to be able to smell it, and within 20 minutes you are offered it.

    By EdnaFruitcake at 12:44 on 15/02/13

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