Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is holding a community event in Piccadilly Gardens following the recent success of Operation Mandera.
On Wednesday 12 November 2014 from 11am until 2pm, officers from the City Centre Neighbourhood Policing team will be based in Piccadilly Gardens to engage with members of the public and discuss the ongoing success of the operation.
The event comes as 13 men received drug dealing sentences during a busy 5 week period in September and October 2014. Between them, these 13 men received 230 months imprisonment and 8 Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (CRASBO).
The cumulative prison time handed out to drug dealers arrested as part of Operation Mandera in 2014 currently stands at 21 years and 5 months.
As well as speaking to members of the public, officers will be handing out leaflets filled with information on Operation Mandera and some details about the more prolific offenders who have been sentenced.
There will be an ad van based in the area which will publicise the operation, along with a GMP drug sniffer dog and special constable patrols.
The event has been funded by cash and assets seized from criminals â€“ including drug dealers arrested in the gardens â€“ under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Operation Mandera was launched in 2013 following feedback from the community, to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in Piccadilly Gardens.
The operation consists of enforcement work from GMPâ€™s City Centre Neighbourhood Policing team, carried out alongside initiatives from partners including Manchester City Council’s Neighbourhood Delivery, CCTV and Community Safety teams.
This year has been a busy one so far for the team who have made 40 arrests for drug dealing, resulting in 21 sentences. Of the 21 sentenced, 15 have were sent to prison and 9 have received CRASBOs banning them from entering Piccadilly Gardens for 2 years after they are released from prison.
Inspector Phil Spurgeon said: â€œWe know that Piccadilly Gardens presents some long-standing and fairly unique crime and anti-social behaviour challenges but we have been working incredibly hard with our partners over the last 18 months to make the area safer.
â€œOur work tackling cannabis dealing in Piccadilly Gardens has not always been seen by the public so it was important that we came back to tell them that we listened and took positive action.
â€œWeâ€™re particularly pleased that we have been able to harness the community’s support and concerns, to secure long prison sentences and CRASBOs for a large number of drug dealers.
â€œWe know that we have more work to do, but todayâ€™s event is about reassuring the community that alongside our partners, we are committed to making Piccadilly Gardens safer.â€
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle said: â€œOperation Mandera sends a clear message to drug pedlars that they will be arrested and prosecuted for plying their evil trade in the city centre.
â€œIt also sends a strong message to the public that Greater Manchester Police will act on their information and concerns and mount successful actions to remove drug dealers from the streets of Manchester.
â€œMembers of the public have seen a difference and I am determined to make sure this successful operation is lasting and that there will be no return for these criminals to Piccadilly Gardens.â€
Councillor Bernard Priest, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Piccadilly Gardens is an area of the city centre enjoyed by families and people who want to make use of our open spaces, and our work with the police demonstrates that we will not tolerate those who have the audacity to try to use the area for drug dealing and other criminal activities.
â€œNot only have these people been given lengthy custodial sentences, but we have issued orders ensuring they will go straight back to jail if they dare to venture there again.
“We’ll be in Piccadilly Gardens to reassure people who want to use this area that we aren’t going away, and anyone with information about antisocial or criminal behaviour should contact us or the police.”