Panorama – Drugs, Cops and Lockdown
- Lines remain a serious problem across Medway with increases in knife crime and violent crime linked to spread of illicit drugs continuing
- Area featured in Luton, Chatham has seen withdrawal of CCTV services despite Police claiming its an area of high drug activity and is 150m away from an area MHS homes wishes to locate a vulnerable youth foyer despite concerns around drug crime in the area
- Kent Police and Medway Task Group strategy needs to be extended and supported due to scale of problem reaching into schools
- Labour is proposing increasing Community-driven CCTV in areas Luton car park and an increase of the extent of existing PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) to include Luton, Strood High Street and Rochester station areas
Commenting on the Panorama broadcast on Monday evening:
Councillor Tris Osborne, Community Safety Spokesperson and councillor for Luton and Wayfield:
“It is welcome Kent Police are conducting operations to combat ‘Lines networks’ with the support of residents in relation to drug dealing and supply from London using transport networks.
“The Panorama programme exposed a number of areas of Medway that have been subject to Council cuts to CCTV and Community safety initiatives in recent years – where drug dealing has now returned – including parts of Luton, Chatham and Rochester.
“Pig Alley in Luton is a well-known location with serious social problems with drug dealing, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour that have been ongoing for years.
“It is time Medway Council and MHS Homes, the social housing provider for the Estate adjacent to Pig Alley) invested in CCTV and withdraw the proposal for a vulnerable youth foyer merely yards away from this location.”
“We are calling on the Community Safety Partnership to prioritise extension of Public Space Protection Orders in inner urban areas and to give communities the confidence in increasing CCTV in areas that the Police are highlighting are areas of community concern.
Councillor Simon Curry, Spokesperson for Regeneration, Culture and the Environment and ward member for Luton and Wayfield said:
“The Luton area has always had a reputation for crime and antisocial behaviour but with the help of the police and other agencies we have been making improvements.
We have been working closely with the local community on a Neighbourhood Plan which will bring about significant change.
More than anything else we are fighting hard to bring new investment into the area. This will bring about new businesses, jobs and improvements to the housing and quality of life for our residents.”
Councilor Jo Howcroft Scott, ward member for Luton & Wayfield added:
“I have served the community of Luton and Wayfield for over 2 years now and the police have done some fantastic work especially with the task force and our dedicated PCSO’s.
However, crime does not just affect individuals. Communities which experience higher levels of crime are more generally adversely affected, people may become frightened outside or indeed inside their own home, new businesses may avoid investing our area, existing businesses may close down.
As local Labour and Co-operative Councillors have been working hard to install CCTV however we are still waiting for Councillor Gulvin to deliver this as previously promised.”