08/04/2019 - Permalink

STAR Housing wins Best Project award for Operation Whistle

Related topics: Community / Housing / My area

Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STAR Housing) have won the award for ‘Best Project’ 2019 at the Resolve Anti-Social Behaviour Awards.

An image of three Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing staff with the award for Best Project 2019.

STAR Housing won the award for Best Project 2019 for Operation Whistle

STAR Housing won the award for their project ‘Operation Whistle’ which was a partnership with West Mercia Police against county lines drug dealing and cuckooing.

STAR Housing were first alerted to the worrying rise in drug dealing/use around Oswestry in 2016, after which they learned of one property in particular that was suspected to be involved in cuckooing.

Operation Whistle included monthly reviews of ten properties considered most vulnerable to cuckooing. Vulnerable residents would then be visited and asked to co-operate STAR Housing and/or West Mercia Police while allowing them to call at the property anytime.

The crime and anti-social behaviour identified during the two year operation led to a closure order being obtained on a property in Oswestry that was causing significant problems to the local community and had elements of both county lines drug dealing and cuckooing. This led to an eviction of the inhabitants.

‘Operation Whistle’ was a multi-agency partnership which included Shropshire Recovery Partnership to help with drug addiction treatment for the residents involved.

Shropshire Recovery Partnership offered help to anyone suffering with drug addiction.

Cuckooing is where organised crime gangs take over a property with vulnerable tenants using fear and often their addiction to drugs to make the tenants conform and allow drug dealing from the property.

Robert Macey, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for housing, said:

“I was delighted at STAR Housing’s success in winning the award for ‘Best Project’ in the National Anti-Social Behaviour Awards and this is fantastic news for a community that were suffering and are now flourishing. This is a demonstration of STAR Housing’s hard work in taking care of their residents and communities. I understand the operation has resulted in all drug related crime in the small area of Oswestry ceasing and an overall drop of 62.5% in police reported crime for the area. The multi-agency approach between STAR Housing, West Mercia Police and Shropshire recovery Partnership is one of the main contributors in the success of this operation and improvement for this community.”

Martin Whitelegg, neighbourhoods manager at STAR Housing, said:

“I’m delighted that STAR housing has won the award for ‘Best Project’ at the Resolve Anti-Social Behaviour Awards 2019. This recognises our commitment to work with our partners to deal with the drug problems blighting our communities and the quality of life of our tenants.”

STAR Housing is an Arm’s Length Management Organisation who manages housing stock for Shropshire Council.

For more information about STAR Housing, click here.