Award for Christmas crime busting partnership


An innovative partnership between CPS Mersey-Cheshire, Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council has won a prestigious Home Office Award for helping to tackle crime in the city.

Operation Kingston has won a Tilley Award in the Alcohol and Drugs theme. The operation was developed after research showed that violence in the night time economy of Liverpool was found to be heavily influenced by cocaine use; which when combined with alcohol can lead to individuals being very much more likely to be violent.

In addition the offences would mean valuable resources being taken up and diverted from other crimes.  Arrests for drugs possession would often lead to a police officer being off the streets for several hours to process the offender and then the potential subsequent involvement of the CPS and courts.

Operation Kingston put in place an innovative way to deal with an offender in situ in 30 minutes or less. The offender was banned from the city centre, given a conditional caution and ordered to complete a drugs intervention programme.

The operation involved officers on the streets with drug detecting dogs. They were supported by a mobile policing unit with a CPS Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecutor on board each night over the campaign period to provide on-the-spot charging advice.

Trevor Gordon, Senior District Crown Prosecutor at CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: "Christmas is always one of the busiest times of the year in our city and this year around 150,000 people came into Liverpool for both shopping and Christmas parties. 

"Merseyside Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Liverpool City Council's CitySafe team took positive action so people can continue to enjoy the city, in a safe environment.

"The unique feature of how Operation Kingston ran was in how the offender was processed.  In normal circumstances an offender found in possession of cocaine would be arrested, which would involve the arresting officer being off the street for a considerable period of time to complete the custody process - estimated to be an average of three hours. The subsequent investigation into the offence would usually require bail and drugs analysis, which would determine if the offender was charged or cautioned with the offence. 

"A file of evidence would be compiled and at court, sentencing options would range from fines, through community service orders to imprisonment.  None of the disposal options addressed the offenders actual use of the drug."

A crucial factor of the campaign was the fast results.

"Based on a mobile police unit - effectively a custody suite - a six-strong team of prosecutors worked in shifts over the festive period to complete al the paperwork with the Police drug testing at the time of the offence. This enabled offenders in appropriate cases to be given conditional cautions on-the-spot with a requirement to attend a drug awareness programme.

"The campaign sent out a clear message that bringing drugs into our city meant offenders had a Christmas theyd rather forget."

Twenty-six conditional cautions were handed out to offenders in total. 

The Tilley awards recognise successful and innovative local crime fighting projects that demonstrate three things:

  •  the use of a problem-solving model;
  •  partnership-working; and
  • measurable and sustainable impact on crime reduction or community safety issues.


For more information contact Sharon King, Area Communications Manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire,  on 0151 239 6465.