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Operation Vulcan was implemented in November 2022 with the vision of taking on the organised crime gangs that are embedded in the areas of Cheetham Hill and Strangeways. While there is still much to accomplish, a combination of relentless law enforcement by Vulcan officers and unwavering support from dedicated partners, is noticeably weakening the grip organised crime groups have on the area and we are already seeing a discernible difference.
The criminality linked to Cheetham Hill and Strangeways was around 50 years in the making - with the area gradually becoming synonymous with crime to the extent that it became utterly hostile to enforcement. Criminals seemingly had free rein to run their illegal enterprises without interference. Previous tactics of periodic raids of shops wasn’t sufficient, and it was time for GMP to change their tactics.
Operation Vulcan was introduced to bring this criminality to a swift and decisive stop, and these results speak for themselves.
Detective Chief Inspector Jen Kelly, one of Operation Vulcan’s specialist officers said: “It has been an impactful few months of consistent action but it is great to see that so far we have already made a positive mark on the community and the local area.
“At its heart, Operation Vulcan is a partnership effort, and while enforcement is an important part, real, sustainable change would not be possible without the help of the local community and partner agencies.
“The future phases of Operation Vulcan will see the investigation deepen as GMP begin to target those higher up the chain. As we know all too well, counterfeiting is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council said: "The progress made by Operation Vulcan in such a short space of time has been remarkable. As Council we are proud to be working alongside our partners to address issues which have blighted our communities for too long.
"Through the actions of both GMP, the Council and our other partners we are seeing tangible results on the streets as counterfeit shops are shuttered and criminal gangs are brought to justice.
"As this operation has proved, the counterfeit goods industry is not a victimless crime, it causes genuine harm to our communities, and it is something we are committed to stamping out. As a partnership we are energised by the work we are doing, and I am confident that positive results will continue in the months to come."
Kate Green, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Police, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “Operation Vulcan is such an important initiative which is proving to be very successful in stopping and catching those who are blighting these communities.
“It’s not just about stopping the production and sale of counterfeit goods, but the wider serious crime and violence all related to this in this area. Serious and organised crime gangs have been operating in this area for too long, preying on vulnerable people to line their own pockets and dragging the whole community in Cheetham Hill and Strangways down. It will not be tolerated, and I’ve been really impressed to see first-hand how GMP’s Operation Vulcan team, in coordination with partners, are stopping and catching those responsible and driving this criminal activity out.
“The first four months of Operation Vulcan have been a huge success, but this is just the beginning of a long-term sustained programme to transform this area for good.”
Kendal Barnett, HM Inspector for North West Immigration Enforcement, part of the Home Office, said: “We’re really pleased to have a dedicated immigration officer embedded within Greater Manchester Police, focused solely on Operation Vulcan. Immigration enforcement is a really important part of tackling organised crime in Cheetham Hill and Strangeways, and we have seen really positive results since the operation launched.
“This joint partnership working allows us to share intelligence and work closely with police to identify offenders who may not only be breaking immigration law, but could be vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs because they don’t have the same protections as those with the right to work in the UK. We are committed to safeguarding people who may be at risk of modern slavery, and we are pleased to be supporting Op Vulcan with this targeted, more joined up approach.”