A POLICE chief has pledged to make the city hostile to drug dealers and those carrying knives in the wake of a week-long awareness campaign.

Chief Inspector Rachel Swinney leads police response teams in Brighton, and spoke to The Argus after Operation Sceptre last week.

She said the police will get tough, and are prepared to use stop and search powers to detain suspects, and will step up patrols wherever drug dealing is reported.

A youth was arrested and charged for possession of a knife and balaclava in the city, and three drug dealers were also under arrest last week, with knife crime often linked to London drugs gangs.

Chief Insp Swinney said: “We carried out 30 stop and searches, as they effective for dealing with knife crime and other criminality.

“My pledge is to keep the city safe. Our message to drug dealers is that it won’t be tolerated in Brighton.

“We will do everything we can to make the city hostile to people looking to deal drugs and to exploit young or vulnerable people.”

During the week of action around Brighton, officers visited more than 1,600 school pupils to talk about knife crime and its devastating impact.

Police also set up a metal detector arch at Brighton station on Friday and Saturday night to target criminals travelling from London on the train.

Meanwhile, police cadets, officers, and trading standards carried out test purchases on shops selling blades.

Dozens of shops were visited during the tests, and eight businesses fell foul of the law not to sell knives to under 18s.

Chief Insp Swinney said: “I was disappointed, personally, to see that eight businesses had failed. But this is about prevention, educating business about the legislation and their obligations.

“We are not going to prosecute them to start with, we are instead looking to change their attitude and make sure they understand the risks.

“If they are retested and still sell knives, then of course action against them will be escalated. Those business that fail again will be named publicly.”

Earlier this month, PCSOs out on patrol spotted drug dealers and gave chase. Two men and a 17-year-old boy were arrested in New Road on suspicion of possessing class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

The boy had a knife stashed in his trousers, while a bag belonging to one of the men had cash worth £3,000 and a knife inside.