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Lessons of 9/11 used in rail drugs amnesty
6:00am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in Local News
PSYCHOLOGICAL techniques developed by the US government after 9/11 were used by the police to catch crooks at railway stations.
Behavioural detection officers were at Southend Victoria, Prittlewell and Southend Central stations with ordinary constables, plain clothes officers and police dogs as part of Operation Musketeer – an amnesty and detection programme aimed at making the streets safer.
Passengers leaving trains at the stations were confronted with large signs and drug amnesty bins, which they were invited to use without further action being taken.
If they failed to dump them and were detected, however, they would be dealt with by officers.
Suspects were identified by officers with special training in behaviour and body language that told them if people had something to hide.
The techniques were developed following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in NewYork to pick up potential terrorists before they have a chance to act.
By midday yesterday, Southend officers had only given one fixed penalty notice to a 20- year-old for possession of £10 of cannabis, though the techniques were used to catch 35 people carrying large amounts of class A drugs at V Festival this year.
PC Shaun Gurney, a behavioural detection officer, said: “There are certain things people don’t realise they’re doing when they’re stressed – they act slightly differently to how you or I might, and we’ve seen this on a lot of people who are very well known to us. It’s also high-profile policing, which acts as a deterrent.”
An Essex Police spokesman said: “There was a pro-active operation in place with drugs dogs, and this was an opportunity for people to give up small amounts of drugs rather than being searched and potentially arrested by police.”
He added: “However, the focus of the operation was also to catch burglars and purse-dippers who may be using the rail network to come into Southend and make life a misery for others.”
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