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Harlow College hosts Operation Stronghold awareness event

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As part of the ongoing work to tackle the threat of drug trafficking and knife crime in the county, officers from Harlow's Community Policing Team visited Harlow College to raise awareness as part of Operation Stronghold.

They were joined by the Essex Police and staff from the College.

Operation Stronghold utilises both local and additional force wide police resources to tackle issues affecting the community within all Essex police districts. The operation involves a number of proactive enforcements, high visibility and public engagement events.

On Thursday 9 May, a knife arch was set up at the main student entrance to screen students as they entered the campus. Police officers were stationed at the other entrances and plain clothed police were operating around the borders of the college.

Harlow Community Policing Team Inspector Leanne Archer said: “Harlow College have always been very supportive in reducing knife crime and preventing harm coming to members of the community. Operations like this are valuable in tackling county lines and identifying those that may have become victims of exploitation. 

“In doing such operations we can identify those that carry weapons, drugs and persons who are potentially a risk of harm to others, whilst also providing wider education around the seriousness of the matter. We are very grateful for the cooperation from Harlow College, a partnership approach through working together we can identify those at risk to ensure safeguarding is in place.”

Assistant Principal, Sallyann Abdelmoula, said: “Today the college and our local police worked in partnership to educate our young people about the risks of knife crime, drugs and county lines. This aligns with national initiative Operation Stronghold. The police brought in their knife arch and completed stop and searches to help advise students about the relevant risks and dangers. 

“The aim was to advise young people of the relevant dangers that engagement with drugs and criminality present. Often young people don’t appreciate that this is a form of grooming and quickly escalates to more violent and threatening consequences.”

If you’re concerned about drug-related crime in your area or think someone may be a victim of drug exploitation or knife crime, please call us on 101 or report online at

Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity completely anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at
Always call 999 in an emergency.

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