Piccadilly Gardens and NQ crime crackdown: Police declare war on city centre drugs and alcohol offences

The battle to beat anti-social behaviour, crime and drug dealing in the city centre is being boosted by Operation Mandera – and GMP have vowed to continue waging war.

The programme, which was launched in June 2013, has resulted in 40 arrests since the autumn just for drug dealing, not to mention countless alcohol confiscations, searches and direction to leave notices.

Led by the city centre Neighbourhood Policing team, Operation Mandera has maintained a reassuring presence in Piccadilly Gardens and the Northern Quarter, ensuring the safety of shoppers and workers alike.

With the interests of the public at heart, Operation Mandera has more boots on the ground to enforce the law and Police Sergeant Phil Marsh said: “The number of staff dedicated to the operation increases with the busy summer months and school holidays and we are also varying our deployment times.

“We have worked hard this year with partners and local businesses in and around Piccadilly Gardens to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime.

“The emphasis so far has been on high visibility patrols and persistent drug dealers and troublemakers.

“Our efforts in tackling these long-standing issues will continue, and we will use the full range of tools and powers available to us and partners, against those responsible for problems in the area.”

Although Operation Mandera mostly consists of ‘dedicated high visibility patrols’ sometimes more covert missions are needed – especially where drug dealing is concerned.

Sergeant March, who leads the Piccadilly arm of the team, said: “As well as tackling these individuals in Piccadilly Gardens itself, we are also taking the fight to where they live. That is why we carried out the raids [last week] in Bolton and Manchester.”

This is in reference to the events of November 29 last year, when the operation saw drugs warrants executed in both Hulme and Bolton, leading to arrests of major players in drug supply.

Drugs, particularly cannabis, are a key issue for Operation Mandera, and a lot of time is spent tackling supply and distribution in the city centre.

Successes in this area have boasted 40 arrests since the autumn for drug supply offences and six convictions with custodial sentences totalling six years plus assent conviction.

And 17 offenders are going through the crown court with dedicated judge, Crown Prosecution Service and community statements which should improve conviction rate and outcomes.

A wide-ranging operation, Mandera sees police adopt a number of strategies to tackle crime on the streets.

On a normal day, Operation Mandera begins with ‘early morning vagrancy sweeps in and around the Gardens and NQ’.

The operation changes to see officers carry out ‘alcohol confiscations from street sellers’, ‘stop, account and search activity by plain clothes officers’ and ‘visits to local businesses for reassurance’ activities later in the day.

Operation Mandera posts regular updates on the @GMPCitycentre Twitter account.

To contact your local neighbourhood policing team call 0161 8563221 or visit the website at

Image courtesy of GMP via YouTube with thanks

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