EVOLVE Netherton marks six months

PCC Emily Spurrell with officers and PCSOs at the launch of Evolve in Netherton in front of a mobile police station

Thirty-five people have been arrested and hundreds of thousands of pounds of Class A and B drugs and several firearms have been seized since the launch of a strategy to combat serious and organised crime in Netherton.

Residents on the Park Lane estate saw the Build phase of EVOLVE Netherton, one of three of Merseyside’s Clear, Hold, Build projects, get underway in April as police and partners work hard to eradicate gang-related activity in the area.

Designed and partly funded by the Home Office, EVOLVE sees Merseyside Police working together with partners and residents to disrupt and deter organised crime groups (OCG) and help rebuild neighbourhoods into places where people would love to live, work and visit.

Since the Clear phase began in February, officers have seized five firearms, a knife, 20 rounds of ammunition, a significant amount of Class A and B drugs, and recovered numerous stolen bikes and vehicles.

There have been several warrants executed, 35 stop checks mostly relating to organised crime group members, numerous vehicle checks and more than 10 land searches for drugs and weapons - one of which resulted in 36-year-old Adrian Craig of Haven Road, Fazakerley, receiving five years in prison for possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

Officers have also carried out regular high visibility patrols on the Park Lane estate to provide disruption to criminal activity and reassurance to the community.

EVOLVE Netherton partners have held several community events and days of action; made six cuckooing referrals; safeguarded numerous vulnerable adults and children and saw £40k in cash given to local community groups from The Power to Park Lane participatory budget event in June.

Community Inspector Ray Mavrakakis, who is one of the senior officers involved in EVOLVE Netherton, said: “Together with our partners we have made significant in-roads in the disruption of serious and organised crime in Netherton.

“Serious violence and drug dealing have blighted the Park Lane estate but EVOLVE Netherton is determined to turn the area around into a safer and more pleasant place for generations to come. 

“Just one example of this is the proposed development of a large unused waste ground that attracts ASB and storage of weapons to be converted into a community garden following a walkabout with EVOLVE Netherton partners to identify areas for improvement.

“Despite the successes we are not complacent and work to clamp down on criminality will be ongoing and relentless.

“Those that are prepared to engage in serious and organised crime need to know that our communities are sickened by their toxic way of life and we are all committed to making EVOLVE neighbourhoods places where we would all love to live, work and visit.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “The results from the first six months of EVOLVE Netherton speak for themselves – dozens of arrests, drugs and weapons taken off our streets and stolen items recovered.

“This is all critical in helping to improve the lives of people living in Netherton. But the work doesn’t stop there. The Build phase of this project is crucial in demonstrating to local people that, with their support, we are determined to make their area a safer, stronger place to live.

“By working closely with partners and engaging with community groups to ensure vital funding is maximised for local people, our focus is on strengthening this community, making it impossible for criminals to return and building a brighter future for everyone who lives there.

“My thanks go to everyone who has supported this vital work over the past six months.”