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In July 2020, GMP alongside nearly ever law enforcement agency across the UK came together as part of the National Crime Agency led 'Operation Venetic'.
The huge scale operation saw enforcement agencies across the UK join together and share expertise in order to takedown 'Encrochat', a highly sophisticated global communication service which allowed organised criminal groups to communication with each other freely.
The operation was sparked after EncroChat was cracked by an international law team in May 2020, springing UK’s police forces and agencies across the country into collective and direct action.
GMP's Serious and Organised Crime Unit launched a series of intricate investigations bringing together 16 teams of officers from across all ten districts of Greater Manchester.
Codenamed 'Operation Foam', the force wide operation has been in constant action for the past twelve months.
To date, under Operation Foam, GMP has:
• Executed over 175 warrants across Greater Manchester
• Arrested 167 people
• Charged 128 people
• Recovered 10 firearms and over 1100 rounds of ammunition
• Seized approximately 12 kilos of class A and approximately 25 kilos of Class B drugs
• Seized over 2.5 million in cash
• Over £300,000 worth of property including luxury jewellery and vehicles.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop said: "Operation Foam has been a colossal operation that has brought together teams of specialist officers and detectives from across Greater Manchester Police who have carried out endless hours of meticulous investigative work in order to takedown the encrypted communication platform EncroChat.
"Over the past 12 months we have carried out countless warrants amounting to 167 arrests and 128 people being subsequently charged. These results are testament to the dedication and determination of all involved and their efforts have been integral in continuing GMP's commitment to pursuing organised criminals and ensuring justice prevails.
"There's no place for organised crime across Greater Manchester and the impact of drugs and criminal activity blights communities and can have serious lasting detrimental impact. GMP is committed to ensuring our communities are protected and safeguarded and Operation Foam will continue at pace to ensure we can fulfil this promise."
Detective Superintendent Paul Denn from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) said:
“Since the takedown of ‘EncroChat’ twelve months ago, our officers have continued to work together with our six North West police forces, to identify the criminals who were using the encrypted devices to carry out their illegal activity.
“Tackling serious and organised crime, and those who cause the most harm to our communities in the North West remains our top priority here at the NWROCU, and we will continue use all our specialist tactics to disrupt these dangerous offenders operating across our region.
“Since last July more than 400 people have been arrested across the North West and more than £16 million pounds in cash and 400kg of Class A and B drugs seized as part of Operation Venetic.
“I can reassure communities across the North West that we will leave no stone unturned - we will continue to interpret, analyse and share intelligence and data to target and dismantle the most hardened criminals in our region.”