Councillors praise police for ongoing operation to wipe out drug dealing in Piccadilly Gardens as arrests continue
More than 50 arrests and 25 convictions have been secured in the last 15 months through Operation Mandera, Greater Manchester Police's long-running operation to rid Piccadilly Gardens of drug dealers.
The operation follows council and community pressure to take action to deal with the growing problem of drug dealing in Piccadilly Gardens. GMP responded with a robust operation of visible and undercover policing to root out the drug dealers.
By November 2014 21 dealers had already been sentenced, 15 sent to prison for a total of 23 years, with 9 getting Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (CRASBOs), banning them from the area when they are released from prison. In the last month a further 10 have been charged with 37 offences related to dealing.
Cllr Kevin Peel, who first raised this issue 3 years ago, said:
"I really welcome the impressive effort the police have put in to tackling this problem despite their own severe budget pressures.
"I know that you can still walk through the Gardens and see gangs congregating or be offered drugs and it may seem like nothing is happening, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
"The police are working very hard and have secured solid results so far. And the operation will continue until drug dealers get the message that their activity will not be tolerated in Piccadilly Gardens and the city centre.
"I strongly urge residents who witness any behaviour when the police are not around to report this by calling 101. Officers will respond promptly and in the meantime we can ensure the cameras in the vicinity are looking at the right spot to gather any evidence of criminal activity."
Councillors continue to push for the return full-time of the police pod to Piccadilly Gardens.