More than 700 arrests in last six months of EVOLVE Wirral strategy

More than 700 people have been arrested and hundreds of thousands of pounds of suspected Class A and B drugs have been seized in the last six months following the implementation of a strategy to combat serious and organised crime in parts of Wirral.

Merseyside introduced the first of three Clear, Hold, Build projects, known locally as EVOLVE, in Liverpool and Knowsley last August following the murders of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Ashley Dale and Sam Rimmer.

Clear, Hold, Build is designed and partly funded by the Home Office, and 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.

EVOLVE Netherton was launched to the public with the Build phase in April and EVOLVE Wirral’s Build phase was launched in May.

The Clear phase of EVOLVE Wirral was launched in the Woodchurch, Beechwood, and Noctorum areas following the murder of Elle Edwards last Christmas Eve.

In the months following Elle’s murder, Merseyside Police worked hard to clear these areas of those involved in serious and organised crime which has resulted in the sentencing of Elle’s murderer Connor Chapman to 48 years in prison, several gang injunctions being served and numerous OCG members put behind bars.

Since May, officers have made 722 arrests, carried out 1,686 stop searches, executed 18 warrants specifically related to organised crime groups, seized a number of crossbows and knives, seized more than £38,000 in cash and a significant quantity of suspected Class A and B drugs.

Officers have also carried out regular high visibility patrols on the three estates to provide disruption to criminal activity and reassurance to the community and made 43 safeguarding referrals for child criminal exploitation (CCE) and child sexual exploitation (CSE).

EVOLVE Wirral partners have held several community events and days of action to improve the area and are in the process of organising a participatory budget event for January where organisations with ideas and projects to improve the three estates are invited to each bid for up to £2,000 in funding.

Projects should support communities to help tackle and reduce the impact of serious and organised crime. To learn more and request an application form email engage@wirral.gov.uk

Completed applications need to be submitted by 12pm on Monday, 11 December.

Wirral Local Policing Superintendent Matthew Moscrop said, “EVOLVE Wirral is a holistic approach to tackling the scourge of organised crime and the effect is has on our communities.

“Alongside our partners we are committed to making a significant difference to the lives of people who live in the EVOLVE estates and we have already achieved successes in the disruption of serious and organised crime in Wirral.

“The work has also led to the protection of young victims of exploitation. However, we are not complacent and work to clamp down on criminality as well as protect the vulnerable and help prevent crime will be ongoing and relentless.

“Police alone cannot tackle serious and organised crime. To have the greatest impact we need to be working together with residents, community groups and partners.

“We are stronger together. Those that are prepared to engage in serious and organised crime need to know our communities are sickened by their toxic way of life where they leach off the vulnerable to make ill-gotten gains and we are all committed to making EVOLVE neighbourhoods places where we would all love to live, work and visit.

“In this picture there is no room for criminality. To ensure this happens people need to keep telling us, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, about the drug dealing, weapons storage, exploitation, anti-social behaviour and any other crime they see so we can take action and either get people off our streets or get them the help they need.”

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “The figures from the first six months of EVOLVE Wirral are very welcome and show that by working together, Merseyside Police, our partner organisations and community groups are making a positive change to the lives of local people.

“Hundreds of arrests, dangerous weapons removed from the streets, vulnerable people safeguarded and tens of thousands of pounds of drugs and cash seized during the first two phases of this project demonstrates to these criminal gangs that the fear and intimidation they seek to inflict on our communities will not be tolerated while showing the decent people who live in Wirral that we are committed to making their area a safer, stronger place to be.

“This is only the beginning and with the support of our partners and people living in the area, the build phase is strengthening local confidence and community spirit, making it harder for criminals to return, whilst growing these communities into places people love to live once more.

“I want to thank everybody for their work over the past six months and I look forward to seeing these communities go from strength to strength in the coming months and years.”

Mark Camborne, Wirral Council’s Assistant Director for Neighbourhood Safety and Transport and Chair of the Operational Delivery Group for EVOLVE Wirral, said, “In the six months since EVOLVE launched in Wirral, Merseyside Police has been working with the council and a range of other partners to disrupt and deter organised crime group (OCG) activity and help stop neighbourhoods being exploited by these criminals.

“They are being supported by law-abiding residents in the three target areas – Woodchurch, Noctorum and Beechwood – as EVOLVE Wirral isn’t only about tackling organised crime, it is about making it more difficult for crime groups to even operate by building community resilience and bringing about positive change, thus reducing the risk of local people being drawn into gangs.

“Not only is EVOLVE implementing holistic measures to disrupt the activity of criminals in Wirral, it is proactively strengthening these areas previously blighted by serious crime, enabling residents to live more safely and peacefully.”

Anyone with information about crime is asked to call Merseyside Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Alternatively, visit Crimestoppers’ website to make an online report here: Give information 100% anonymously about organised crime in Merseyside | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org)

Images: Merseyside Police

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news