THE WEST END DRUGS PARTNERSHIP (WEDP) – WHAT IS IT?

Backdated from previous BA website

The basic remit is to deal with drugs issues as they affect the communities of our city centre, and as the point of contact for consultation on all issues revolving around drugs. The WEDP has an Action Plan. This is the first time there has been a formal arrangement involving the four main active West End community groups and thus the WEDP represents an important benchmark for both community partnership and cross-border working. Click title for more.

THE WEST END DRUGS PARTNERSHIP (WEDP)


WHAT IS IT?

The WEDP is a cross border (Camden & WCC) partnership organisation meeting once a month for half a day. The partnership comprises: the Bloomsbury Association, the Covent Garden Community Association, the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association and the Soho Society being the main representatives of the community; Camden and Westminster Police; the Drugs Action Teams from both local authorities and other local authority officers (e.g. community safety, homelessness units and others); the Government Office for London (GOL); Councillors from both Camden and Westminster. The attendance is between 20 and 40 people.

THE REMIT AND THE CURRENT SITUATION

The basic remit is to deal with drugs issues as they affect the communities of our city centre, and as the point of contact for consultation on all issues revolving around drugs. The WEDP has an Action Plan. This is the first time there has been a formal arrangement involving the four community groups and thus the WEDP represents an important benchmark for both community partnership and cross-border working.

THE HISTORY

In November 2002 the CGCA organised a meeting about drug issues in Covent Garden, which turned out to be the best-attended and most fraught public meeting since the days of proposed demolition of the area in the early 1970’s. Over 500 residents and businesses attended together with both MP’s, police commanders etc. The other West End wards had the same problem, particularly Bloomsbury from where a large number of community members attended this meeting.
Everyone got the impression that the authorities were genuinely shocked at the severity with which the community regarded drug related problems.

The GOL then hosted a series of meetings attended by some very high ranking officials, which ended up with the four community groups being invited to join the forum. In fact the meetings were exceptionally fraught and the four community groups felt they were being treated with utter contempt. I won’t bore you with details of this rather unusual and depressing situation but suffice to say that we were very pleased that a senior official from GOL was on hand to ensure that we were fairly treated at the end of the day and we are now satisfied with our role within the WEDP.

WHERE WE ARE NOW & THE FUTURE

We now have a viable organisation where the community groups play an active and important role.

The major issue at Sept 2005 is the thorny issue of the Camden Drugs Action Team to use the Tottenham Court Road underpass as a new dedicated fixed site needle exchange. to replace the ‘temporary’ van in Andrew Borde Street (off Denmark Street where it has been for 5 years).

This is a proposal that the community object to very strongly and you will be hearing more on this subject soon.
http://www.wedp.org

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