A TOP cop has pledged to “shut down” drug dealers in Renfrew, Johnstone and the villages in the hope of improving the quality of life for residents.

Inspector Jim Cast stepped in to replace Cassie Glass last month as head of community policing in the area.

And he said his number one goal is to target drug dealers who are “making people’s lives a misery.”

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But to be able to do the job properly, the 41-year-old insists he needs the public to keep delivering information about any ongoing drug problems they have witnessed.

Insp Cast said: “Drug dealers are a massive issue. They attract users and, quite often, they will need to commit crime around them to get money.

“From that, there can be motor vehicle crime if they are trying to get from A to B and there is also the anti-social behaviour, with needles being left around and people hanging about, causing others misery.

“I find that, if you can shut down a drug dealer, you actually increase the quality of life for people in that area.

“For me, that’s my number one goal – to get in and about the drug dealers.

“While I can’t eradicate the problem, I feel I can make a difference and drive that aspect forward.

“What we do need, though, is intelligence.

“We ask the public all the time for information and they might be bored of telling us the same thing but they need to keep trusting us and know that, every time they pick up the phone, we do look into it and we will do something with it.

“We may have to work on it, we might not be able to get a warrant straight away, but everything that comes in, we will look at and review. We are here to react to what people tell us.”

Insp Cast joined the police at the age of 18, following in the footsteps of his dad, who was an officer for 30 years.

He initially worked in his home area of Essex on a pro-active drugs team, before moving on to become a dog handler.

After about eight years of service, Scotland came calling and he found himself working in both the old Renfrew and Johnstone stations as a response officer.

He was then picked to work as a community officer for Linwood, before being promoted to a support unit post in Glasgow.

After a period of working as a response inspector covering Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, Insp Cast was handed his current role.

And he is excited about the prospect of using his skills to make a difference in the area.

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He added: “I found working in response was brilliant but it wasn’t a job where you had the satisfaction of problem solving. This role is more about having geographical responsibility.

“What I will bring to the role is a real enthusiasm for being pro-active. I want us to be as productive as we can.

“I would like community officers to be the people to go to, I would like the community to recognise who their officer is and feel they can trust them.”