West Yorkshire Police is set to bring in a private firm to help its officers dismantle the near 1,000 cannabis farms found in the county each year.
The force said 922 cannabis farms were discovered last year, with more than half having 25 or more plants, meaning they took “significant time to examine and dismantle”.
An internal report shows that it has now decided to find “an innovative provider who will attend cannabis farms as requested by the police, dismantle and remove all equipment and dispose of the actual cannabis plants”.
They have been in talks with a firm who provides similar services to South Yorkshire Police in a bid to find a solution that does not create any extra cost to the tax-payer.
But the force yesterday refused to provide any information about the contract, claiming the information was commercially sensitive. Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said: “We will be offering no further information at this time as this process is still ongoing. Once it is complete we will look to review this decision.”
The version of the report released under the Freedom of Information Act has all estimates of financial cost blacked out but went before West Yorkshire Police’s command officer team on June 30.
Among the options discussed was the creation of an “dedicated internal dismantling team” which would be a “growth area of police staff, supported potentially by volunteers”.
The report said: “This has significant start-up costs [and] would require suitable premises, vehicles and equipment.”
The move comes a day after a judge jailed 12 men for their part in a massive cannabis growing operation uncovered in Wakefield with an estimated annual yield of £2 million.