Police operation hailed a success for a second time

Chris Bowen avro-oldham-04

Greater Manchester Police’s Operation AVRO returned to the streets of Oldham for the second time this week with a focus on this occasion on youth engagement. This was the sixteenth day of action across the Region’s ten policing districts since its formation and returning to the Borough of Oldham for the second time after an impactful, high profile visit in March, 2022.

The name AVRO is already well-known to the town from just before the start of the Second World War as A.V. Roe established an aircraft factory at Chadderton, situated in fields at the end of Moston Lane and becoming the home of the famed ‘Dambusters’ aircraft – the Avro Lancaster – as well as the famous Cold War ‘V’ bomber – the Avro Vulcan – before purchasing another smaller factory in Failsworth.

AVRO Football Club, who play in the North West Counties Football League, also hosts the famous Oldham Rugby League Football Club at its Whitebank Stadium in Limeside.

That ramble through local history aside, a total of 49 arrests were made with cash, drugs and vehicles were seized across Oldham on Thursday 23rd February, 2023 through 20 warrants as part of Operation AVRO.

Alongside making arrests and seizures, early morning warrants were executed, across the district, whilst officers from the force’s Specialist Operations Branch focussed on making roads safer for all who use them.

In an early start, the first warrants were carried out at just after 5am with a total of 8 people in custody by 8am.

Chief Superintendent Chris Bowen, GMP Oldham’s District Commander (pictured above), addressed more than 200 officers, staff and partners at Oldham Leisure Centre to start the day.

Sixteen simultaneous warrants were executed with multiple suspects arrested for drug offences in Failsworth and Oldham.

Officers also carried out a warrant at an address in Chadderton where a sizable cannabis farm was located.

Other community activity included searches and a visible reassurance for commuters around Metrolink stops with Transport for Greater Manchester and GMP’s Transport Unit and weapons sweeps.

With a focus on youth and understanding what matters are important to them from knife crime, VAWG and ASB, links with partners were strengthened, with Oldham Council, as well as Oldham College and local primary schools as over 1,000 students were engaged.

This included a theatre performance by students, attended by Chief Constable Stephen Watson and an ‘Actions Have Consequences’ interactive talk by Paul McGovern MBE with St Theresa’s Primary School.

Joint operations were also carried out in conjunction with Environmental Health, HMRC and immigration to conduct compliance checks at 13 locations around the borough.

Officers from the Safer Transport Team were out on the roads of Oldham and recorded a total of 292 traffic offences with 152 of those related to speeding.

A total of 10 vehicles were seized and six arrests made, including drug and disqualified driving offences.

A focus throughout the day was on community engagement, in particular youth and their concerns around knife crime, violence against women and girls (VAWG) and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Officers from the Safer Transport Team were out on the roads of Oldham and recorded a total of 292 traffic offences with 152 of those related to speeding.

A total of 10 vehicles were seized and six arrests made, including drug and disqualified driving.

A focus throughout the day was on community engagement in particular youth and their concerns around knife crime, violence against women and girls and anti-social behaviour.

C/Supt Bowen also thanked the Oldham community for its help and support on a ‘successful operation’ well as providing a brief update on what had happened throughout the day.

He said: “Nearly 50 people are in custody for various offences from burglary to supplying drugs, money laundering and domestic abuse.

“Looking back, it has been a fantastic day engaging with the local community, we have listened to the young people on how they feel about the issues they face and I promise you, the people of Oldham, that we will take them into account going forward.

“Operation AVRO isn’t just about this one day of action, it is about framing what we will do in the coming months – thank you for your help and thank you for your support.”

What is Operation AVRO?

Operation AVRO is a force wide initiative that delivers extra resources and specialist officers to a different district within Greater Manchester each month and launched just over a year ago in Salford in October 2021.

Since then, it has travelled around the force with the operation targeting crimes and concerns that members of the public in that district have told GMP give them most concern.

For more information, visit: Operation AVRO | Greater Manchester Police (gmp.police.uk)


Page last updated Sunday 26th February, 2023 at 1150hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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