Drug Related Crime now 1st Priority for Camden Police

Backdated from previous BA website

at last ………………………………………….

Commander Brooks stated at the Camden Drug Crime Seminar on Nov 6th that Drugs and Drugs related crime are now his first priority. We congratulate him on finally recognising what the community has been trying to tell him for years.
Camden: Seeking Solutions to Drug Crime Seminar

The programme started with a number of speakers;

Welcome by Barbara Hughes Executive Member for Community Safety who introduced the Chair for the day; Richard Sumray MPA. Richard then introduced the speakers as follows; Judith Lempiriere Head of Partnerships and Regions, Drug Unit, Home Office; Junel Miah and Andre Schott Fitzrovia Youth in Action and Silla Carron Chair, Camden Federation of Tenants and Residents Association; Councillor Jane Roberts Leader of the Council; Megan Jones Community Safety and Drugs Manager; Borough Commander Tony Brooks Metropolitan Police, Camden.

There were about 100 invited guests from a very wide selection of community associations and groups in Camden who then discussed the statements made by the panel in groups of about 10 and then, assisted by facilitators agreed questions to put to the panel. Panel speakers were joined by Ian Walker Anti social behaviour co-ordinator, Camden and Kenny Wilks Assistant Service Manager – Environment, Camden.

Report.

Jane Roberts spoke of the understanding by the council of the distress that drug related crime causes the community, that they do not underestimate the difficulties ahead and that they need the help of the community.

The most important aspect to come from this seminar was that Commander Brooks stated that Drugs and Drug Related Crime are now at the top of police priorities as a direct result of concerns expressed by the community. Mr Brooks went on to say that the police are aware of their shortcomings in regard to ‘communication’ with the public and that they intend to address this matter. He went on to mention that there seems to be a new drugs market establishing itself at Euston and that Camden Town (Camden Lock) activity gives the police the most concern.

There was great emphasis on ‘partnerships’ and community involvement in those.

Megan Jones Camden DAT, said that she thought there was still confusion within the community about the role of the DAT and that further education of the public is needed for them to appreciate and understand the complicated processes that are in place to combat drugs and drug related crime. She went on to explain the role of DAT in detail.

My feeling was that the seminar was worthwhile if only to be able to meet all the agencies that are involved in the fight against drugs at one place and get the latest views of the Council.

It would seem that at last the council and police are listening to the community and responding to our major concerns. My worry was that they council still does not understand how great is the opposition of the community to proposed introduction of dedicated fixed site needle exchanges and the existing mobile needle exchanges, nor our opposition to the policy of NOT having a one-for-one needle exchange programme. This argument is ongoing and we eagerly await the publication of the Fixed Site Needle Exchange Health Impact Assessment in December 2003.

The BA was represented by Jim Murray

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