POLICE teams joined forces in a day of action to tackle drug gangs, knife crime and antisocial behaviour.

Officers made a number of arrests across West Sussex on Friday.

Staff from prevention teams, the community investigation team and intelligence teams came together in a clampdown on drugs and violent crime, which was funded by the Home Office.

Five people were arrested after police targeted specific drug offences, with officers executing warrants and raiding addresses in Worthing and Shoreham.

Officers also worked with British Transport Police during the day. Two young men, aged 19 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs at the rear of Worthing railway station.

Sergeant Scott Walters, who organised the day of action, said: “This is a fantastic example of our teams working together to get results for West Sussex.

“We are continuing to disrupt dealers who try to deal dangerous drugs across our communities and are targeting those who use children to sell drugs or those who buy drugs from children; we will investigate and prosecute you.

“The term ‘County Lines’ is used by police and partner agencies to refer to drug networks, both gangs and organised crime groups, from large urban areas such as London, who use children and young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf.

“The successes seen on Friday are not just as of a result of one day of action, but months of ongoing hard work from the officers and staff and this work will continue 24/7.”

Two further arrests were made after police stopped two men, aged 24 and 25, and found a large knife, a club hammer and a pool cue inside their vehicle.

During the afternoon officers targeted those carrying knives and other weapons, which resulted in a further four arrests, nine searches and three weapons being seized.

An 18-year-old woman was arrested following a report of an attempted stabbing in Storrington, and a sharply-pointed article was seized.

Officers also arrested a 51-year-old man from Littlehampton for attempting to import prohibited weapons into the country.

Sgt Walters added: “We are determined to get knives off our streets and reduce violent crime and the day of action is a great way to show our commitment to this using funds and resources allocated by the Home Office.

“Far too many lives have been affected by knife crime and our priority is to make Sussex a safer place to be.

“Our key priority is sending the message that carrying a knife is dangerous and can have serious consequences. Getting caught with a knife will change your life and we want to highlight the consequences of being caught carrying one.

“We are clear that carrying a knife does not make you safer, it puts you at more risk of becoming a victim and we would encourage anyone with concerns to reach out and seek help.”

It follows the arrival of new Chief Constable Jo Shiner who wants the force to be more proactive in the fight against crime.

She visited Southwick to speak with residents along with Chief Inspector Nick Bowman and Sergeant Scott Walters after growing concerns were raised about low level crimes.

Chief Inspector Bowman said concerns have been raised in West Sussex about antisocial behaviour in recent weeks.

It includes 15 arrests of youths in Shoreham earlier this month, where a woman police officer was attacked amid a large gathering.

Chief Insp Bowman said: “This behaviour, and the violence towards police officers going about their duty, is totally unacceptable and we are appealing for any independent witnesses to come forward.

“Fortunately, our officers did not suffer any serious injuries in the incident, but we will not tolerate attacks such as this on emergency workers.”

Mr Bowman said he does not want young people to be drawn into crime and antisocial behaviour, as a criminal record can damage their future.

He said: “We are trying to suppress knife crime. We have not got more of a problem here than anywhere else, but we have seen some antisocial behaviour and sometimes that can increase to other more serious crimes.

“With young people we want to engage with them, to say that if you are carrying a knife or weapon, there are serious consequences for their future and their safety.”

His message was backed up by the Chief Constable, who said increasing Sussex Police’s visibility was important to reassure people but also show the force is there to respond to their concerns.

She said: “It is really important for us to engage with children and young people. We have to have the conversations and it makes all the difference.

“Young people need to make the right decisions. The last thing we want is to criminalise them, but young people don’t necessarily consider the implications of their behaviour and choices.”

Ms Shiner, who took over as chief earlier last month, has set up new tactical enforcement units to get tough on criminals and smash drugs gangs.

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “This day of action is just one example of the targeted work that has taken place over the last year and the teams involved have achieved some really positive results.

“Sussex Police are putting extra boots on the ground and have invested heavily in preventative and proactive enforcement to keep our county safe, with officers also working hard to educate the public, especially young people, on the dangers of carrying knives.

“This activity should serve as a warning to those who wish to exploit and endanger Sussex residents that the police’s response will be swift and robust.”

If you have information about drug dealing, knife crime or any other issue, you can report it by calling 101.