AS POLICE launched a national crackdown on county lines drug gangs, Argus reporter Olivia Marshall was invited to accompany Sussex officers as they raided a property in Brighton.

When I was offered the chance to attend a drug raid with the police, I was apprehensive.

Embarrassingly, my main understanding of policing comes from television shows such as 24 hours In Police Custody and dramas such as Line Of Duty.

The Argus: Officers from Sussex Police carried out the warrant as part of county lines intensification weekOfficers from Sussex Police carried out the warrant as part of county lines intensification week

So on arrival at Brighton's John Street Police Station, I had little idea what to expect.

I was met by Sergeant Richard Penrose, from the Tactical Enforcement Unit at Sussex Police, and taken to a briefing room.

Officers were told a raid - or "warrant" as they refer to it - was to be carried out as part of a national crackdown on county lines drug dealing gangs.

The Argus: Sussex Police preparing for the warrant in BrightonSussex Police preparing for the warrant in Brighton

These are urban dealers who sell to customers in more rural areas via dedicated phone lines, hence "county lines".

They are notorious for exploiting children to carry drugs and forcing vulnerable people to let them use their homes to conceal or deal drugs.

With all officers aware of their roles, we headed to the police van and drove towards Donald Hall Road, Brighton, where the warrant was to take place.

The Argus: Police Sergeant PenrosePolice Sergeant Penrose

The atmosphere in the van was calm, and the officers caught up with one another about their home and personal lives.

This came as a surprise to me - after all, this is usually the part in a police drama where the dramatic, high-tension music would start playing and the lighting would suddenly grow darker.

This is not to say they did not understand that the stakes were high, there was just a quiet focus about the team and a feeling that everything was in order.

Once we arrived at the address, it was time to put the plan into action.

All six officers headed towards the property – helmets on and fully focused.

Working as a team, they used an enforcer to ram the door and enter the property.

Those inside were detained and a thorough search carried out.

Three men were arrested at the warrant at Donald Hall Road for drugs offences before being interviewed and released on bail while enquiries continue.

At a simultaneous, linked raid in the city, a further two men were arrested.

They have since been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Intensification weeks allows the police force to show the public its determination to rid communities of drug dealing and other related crime.

But the reality is the action we see in these weeks is just a snapshot of the real work the police carry out.

The arrests had been the result of months of hard work and time spent gathering evidence needed to make it possible for the warrant to go ahead.

Having the opportunity to join this raid opened my eyes to the reality of policing, and helped me to understand the level of dedication of officers have to making the public feel safe.

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