POLICE have carried out more than 175 drugs raids in Boscombe in the last year in a direct response to the Roumelia Lane shooting.

News of the Reece James’ death last July was met with shock by the local community and Inspector Chris Weeks said he was keen to reassure residents and traders exactly what was being done to tackle drug-related crime in the area.

He said a team of officers from Dorset Police were already tackling drug dealing and misuse as part of Operation Crackdown. And after the shooting they responded by asking residents to come forward with information.

Insp Weeks added: “Following the shooting we needed to get a better understanding of what drug activity was taking place in the area by speaking to the community and listening to their concerns.

“The amount of community information and intelligence that came into us really excelled. Since the tragic shooting Dorset Police have conducted over 175 searches of local addresses for controlled drugs and associated criminality."

He said a number of “key arrests” have been made and seven antisocial behavior orders have been secured banning people known to be involved in drug dealing from the borough of Bournemouth.

“On the whole the reaction to the work we have done is positive. They feel they have been listened to, we have gained an understanding of what is going on and reacted to it.”

Speaking about the shooting, Insp Weeks added: “That type of crime, as awful as it is, fortunately is a very rare occurrence and we need to remember that the victim and the offenders were not from Boscombe and just happened to be in Roumelia Lane at the time of the incident.”

The shooting had followed a number of shocking crimes in recent years including a murder and a man left paralysed after being stabbed in the head with a screwdriver.

“There was a great deal of concern among the Roumelia Lane community," said Insp Weeks.

"What had happened there was an unfortunate set of circumstances played out in a small geographical area."

The police and council responded to public concern following that shooting by holding a series of meetings with residents and traders - two of which were attended by the then assistant chief constable James Vaughan. CCTV in nearby Sea Road had been upgraded after a previous murder and lighting in Roumelia Lane was improved to reduce antisocial behaviour.

Helene Bowman-Brown, chair of the Friends of Roumelia Lane, said: “Some people might think that Roumelia Lane has built up a bad name - but that is not something the community think. We don't get empty shops in Roumelia Lane, they are all filled. We have a good relationship with the residents there.”

Helene said: “We could not have done anything in Roumelia Lane had it not been for the support of the police and council. These guys are doing their job and we need to do ours by giving information and assistance.”

Cllr Jane Kelly, of Boscombe West, praised the proactive approach of the Friends of Roumelia Lane. “I absolutely support community residents groups because they are the way we, as ward councillors, can listen to what residents want.

“This particular group is a proactive, engaging group who worked with the council and the police.”