Rhosddu anti social behaviour

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  • #122579

    99DylanJones
    Participant

    I feel very sorry for all those residents that are suffering clearly as a consequence of various planning decisions to allow so many ‘services’ in a concentrated area which has high visibility.
    The clearing up of discarded needles and drug paraphernalia is one think getting to the root cause and start doing some real work is another.
    For a variety of reasons many of the people causing the problems have been let down by the medical profession due to lack of detox, friends who have deserted them and their own families.
    The mental health of many of the ‘offenders’ must surly show that they are medical cases that need help- yet where is that coming from. What came first mental health problems then drugs or drugs then mental health?
    There are no easy solutions —
    1) Why is CCTV evidence nit being used?
    2) If caught why the Police, Courts are not using their powers under mental health act to get people into treatment
    3) There are probably so few tickets issued because PCSO etc. know that they won’t get paid — why not issue a ‘health’ ticket that makes them attend a health/rehab unit– failure to do so lead to custody
    4) Glasgow Council are looking at the creation of ‘safe/clean’ rooms for drug injections – concentrating the issues in one location in a ‘controlled’ environment
    5) Why don’t residents themselves take action by facing up to the issues that unfortunately many will have in their own family – move away from thinking it is a phase. Their family member may not be street users at present but it must be a very fine line between in house use and street use.
    6) Councillors and other officials stop hiding behind reports and get out to the coal face and really see first-hand what is happening
    7) Stop trying to blame the Police for a society issue everyone has a responsibility and turning a blind eye does nothing to help- report and chase up for action
    The special meeting the Council held to discuss needle discardment does not seem to have had any meetings to discuss the causes.

    #122596
    Councillor X
    Councillor X
    Participant

    Dylan, I seem to remember back in the summer of 2012, Cllr Phil Wynn calling for a “wet room” to be set up in Wrexham where people could get off their tits on alcohol without upsetting the shoppers. This never happened so your idea of a ‘safe/clean’ rooms for drug injections is unlikely to be favoured either.

    The Police & Council have let the situation escalate over the years so much so that it became unmanageable thanks in part to their airy-fairy approach.

      Come on Phil, pull your finger out and when you have a good idea, follow it through!

    A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.

    #122609

    bubble
    Participant

    99DylanJones, I take issue with a number of your points.

    “What came first mental health problems then drugs or drugs then mental health?”

    I doubt any of the drug users set out to become addicted but instead started as recreational drug users. Some may have been ‘self-medicating’ (unconsciously or otherwise) in an attempt to escape mental health issues, but some will simply have been out for a ‘good time’. Furthermore, the mental health services that were available to them, or which have failed them, are the same mental health services that are available to – or have failed – everyone else too. Drug users do not have a monopoly on mental health issues.

    “4) Glasgow Council are looking at the creation of ‘safe/clean’ rooms for drug injections – concentrating the issues in one location in a ‘controlled’ environment”

    It could be argued that ‘concentrating the issues in one location’ is precisely what is already happening in Rhosddu. The services that have set up shop in Rhosddu, and who claim to be so knowledgeable about homelessness and substance abuse issues, should have foreseen the consequences of installing themselves so heavily in one particular area. Why would anyone trust these organisations to resolve this issue now?

    “For a variety of reasons many of the people causing the problems have been let down by the medical profession due to lack of detox, friends who have deserted them and their own families.”

    “5) Why don’t residents themselves take action by facing up to the issues that unfortunately many will have in their own family – move away from thinking it is a phase. Their family member may not be street users at present but it must be a very fine line between in house use and street use.”

    “7) Stop trying to blame the Police for a society issue everyone has a responsibility and turning a blind eye does nothing to help- report and chase up for action”

    I am gobsmacked at what you have said here. How about you stop blaming the law-abiding residents of Rhosddu? You seem to be saying that the problems in Rhosddu are the residents’ own responsibility. You also appear to suggest that Rhosddu has a preponderance of families with drug issues and just a fine line before their drug-using family members becoming one of Rhosddu’s ‘street users’.

    I have lived in social housing with several neighbours being drug users – and I have seen how organisations bend over backwards to help these people, whilst the rest of us are left to suffer their behaviour for months and years. I had to move home to get away from it. I am tired of the excuses made for drug users. I find it offensive when people suggest that it is everyone’s responsibility to deal with this. I think responsibility should be placed squarely where it belongs – on the drug addicts. To do anything else only provides them with a convenient excuse and absolves them of responsibility for their own behaviour.

    Drug users can choose to seek help from the services in Rhosddu or they can choose not to. Some drug users are homeless and some are not. Either way, there is no excuse for discarding used needles and drug paraphernalia in places where it can cause harm to other people.

    #122616

    MP1953
    Participant

    99DylanJones, I take issue with a number of your points.

    “What came first mental health problems then drugs or drugs then mental health?”

    I doubt any of the drug users set out to become addicted but instead started as recreational drug users. Some may have been ‘self-medicating’ (unconsciously or otherwise) in an attempt to escape mental health issues, but some will simply have been out for a ‘good time’. Furthermore, the mental health services that were available to them, or which have failed them, are the same mental health services that are available to – or have failed – everyone else too. Drug users do not have a monopoly on mental health issues.

    “4) Glasgow Council are looking at the creation of ‘safe/clean’ rooms for drug injections – concentrating the issues in one location in a ‘controlled’ environment”

    It could be argued that ‘concentrating the issues in one location’ is precisely what is already happening in Rhosddu. The services that have set up shop in Rhosddu, and who claim to be so knowledgeable about homelessness and substance abuse issues, should have foreseen the consequences of installing themselves so heavily in one particular area. Why would anyone trust these organisations to resolve this issue now?

    “For a variety of reasons many of the people causing the problems have been let down by the medical profession due to lack of detox, friends who have deserted them and their own families.”

    “5) Why don’t residents themselves take action by facing up to the issues that unfortunately many will have in their own family – move away from thinking it is a phase. Their family member may not be street users at present but it must be a very fine line between in house use and street use.”

    “7) Stop trying to blame the Police for a society issue everyone has a responsibility and turning a blind eye does nothing to help- report and chase up for action”

    I am gobsmacked at what you have said here. How about you stop blaming the law-abiding residents of Rhosddu? You seem to be saying that the problems in Rhosddu are the residents’ own responsibility. You also appear to suggest that Rhosddu has a preponderance of families with drug issues and just a fine line before their drug-using family members becoming one of Rhosddu’s ‘street users’.

    I have lived in social housing with several neighbours being drug users – and I have seen how organisations bend over backwards to help these people, whilst the rest of us are left to suffer their behaviour for months and years. I had to move home to get away from it. I am tired of the excuses made for drug users. I find it offensive when people suggest that it is everyone’s responsibility to deal with this. I think responsibility should be placed squarely where it belongs – on the drug addicts. To do anything else only provides them with a convenient excuse and absolves them of responsibility for their own behaviour.

    Drug users can choose to seek help from the services in Rhosddu or they can choose not to. Some drug users are homeless and some are not. Either way, there is no excuse for discarding used needles and drug paraphernalia in places where it can cause harm to other people.

    Well said bubble, the politically correct thing to do is now wearing thin in all walks of life, and as you say with regards to this issue people have bent over backwards but nothing comes back from these people.

    The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

    #122620

    99DylanJones
    Participant

    I’m sorry if anyone thought my comments about people looking within their families was in any way blaming Rhosddu residents – I was merely highlighting that misuse issues can be occurring in any family/household.
    Turning a blind eye to issues is something that has gone on for years hence the problems the Council are now facing- the concept of trying to sweep thinks under the carpet is not new.

    #122629

    bubble
    Participant

    Thank you for your apology, Dylan. I think you’ll find that when you are a resident constantly on the receiving end of the behaviour of drug addicts, it becomes a very emotive issue and it has certainly had a very profound effect on my attitude towards them.

    I agree that these addicts are in a very unpleasant situation and I don’t begrudge them help – even at taxpayers’ financial expense – but it should not be to the detriment of other people’s lives, and the residents of Rhosddu should not have to bear the brunt of this. I am sick of hearing excuses given by charities, e.g. any of us could end up homeless. I believe describing these people as ‘homeless’ rather than ‘drug addicts’ is a deliberate ploy to try to get the public to look upon them more sympathetically. The ones I lived next door to had plenty of opportunities to work with the housing association and the agencies the association put them in touch with. These people did not need to lose their homes (paid for by housing benefit) and the fact is they became homeless because of their own sustained actions despite being given so many chances to avoid eviction. Yet these charities would have us believe that these homeless addicts fell victim to unscrupulous landlords and that if they could only be given somewhere to live they could turn their lives around. It is always someone else’s fault, never the fault of the addicts themselves. For me, these charities have made the term ‘homeless’ synonymous with ‘drug addict’ and I will never donate to a homeless charity again or buy another Big Issue.

    Drug addicts seem to have plenty of places to go for help in Wrexham. I have no idea what these organisations do or whether they are any use. But where are the organisations for people with the misfortune of living near to drug addicts, fearing for their own safety and suffering their own mental health issues as a consequence? What on earth are our local councillors doing?

    And I still maintain that if these addicts have the organisational skills to seek out free needles and fund their drug addictions, there is no reason why they cannot dispose of needles responsibly.

    #122638

    zinger
    Participant

    Well said Bubble.

    #122871

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    Dear Cllr X you are quite right that I did float the idea of a Wetroom a few years back as a possible solution for encoraging street drinkers to move off our town centre streets. It was a solution which was rubbished by one of the Leader columnists at the time. Such ideas are always contenious and for that reason I was unable to gather political support to explore the idea further. Times have changed so who knows what may happen to solve the problems of ASB in our town-centre.

    As for getting my finger out, well Rob who runs wrexham.com asked me the same question, be it in a polite manner. Copied beow is the response sent, amended for a number of typos. I hope this demonstrates mine and other’s commitment to finding solutions to reduce the levels of ASB residents in town-centre wards are enduring on too regular a basis.

    Regards
    Cllr Phil Wynn

    Dear Rob

    In my capacity as a WCBC town centre ward member I have over the last two years had the pleasure of working with numerous volunteers in promoting our town centre by way of the Street Festivals, the Town-centre Forum , volunteer led street clean up events and Wrexham Matters newsletters. This work will I am sure continue to grow and play its part in making our town a place which Wrexham folk will continue to appreciate for leisure and retail, as well as being a pleasant place to live and work in.

    At the beginning of this journey I was fully aware of the anti-social behaviour of a small number of individuals frequenting our town-centre was proving off-putting for everyone else. Their behaviour included the use of foul language, drinking alcohol in public spaces, begging and generally hanging around in groups which many found intimidating.

    The police at the time used their powers to ban offending individuals from the town-centre for up to 48 hours. This had the impact of delivering a temporary solution but the banned individuals always returned.

    In absolute frustration with the problem a number of the town-centre ward elected members challenged Cllr Hugh Jones, the Lead Member for Community Safety and our WCBC’s Strategic Director Lee Robinson to come up with a plan of action to tackle the problem head on.

    Coincidentally soon after a Task and Finish Group was formed by WCBC’s Safeguarding, Communities and Well-being Scrutiny Committee to review the issue of Unsafely Discarded Needles and Drugs Paraphernalia. Cllr Steve Wilson and I served on the Group along with fellow Cllrs Carole O’Toole, Bill Baldwin and Colin Powell.

    After gathering evidence from numerous individuals a series of recommendations were made on how we felt the ever increasing presence of discarded needles on view along with illegal rough sleeper encampments could be better managed so as to minimise the impact on our communities. There is now an expectation for the Committee to receive a briefing off Cllr Hugh Jones in February 2017 once he has received feed-back off various public bodies including the Welsh Governmnet. Link to report, agenda item 4: http://moderngov.wrexham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=174&MId=3512&Ver=4&LLL=undefined

    The ward I represent has over the last few years been adversely affected by illegal rough sleeper encampments, located at the Dunelm Mill underpass, behind the retail units on the Central Retail Park, on Island Green Retail Park, behind Morrisons Store, in undergrowth next to the Morrisons cycle way, Bryn Offa playing field, Little Varnog meadows as well as under the Bradley Road bridge archways. The closure of these sites whilst delivering no immediate solutions to the causes of homelessness has at least brought peace of mind for residents and businesses affected.

    I am currently liaising with Officers to have the Dunelm Mill underpass closed on the grounds of health and public safety. as It wasn’t that long ago that rough sleepers closed the main railway line by lighting a fire in the underpass which resulted in smoke billowing across the rail track.

    A recent rough sleeper count has highlighted there are getting on for fifty individuals who are sleeping rough in Wrexham, or are using the town’s night shelter Ty Nos. Numbers are up on last year so the problem is not going away.

    I have supported the action taken by Cllr Hugh Jones by way of introducing a Public Open Space Protection Order in August, which covers our town-centre. At my request the area was extended to include the Central Retail Park and parts of Maesgwyn.

    National legislation brought into being earlier this year, outlawing the supply of new psychoactive substances “legal highs” has done nothing to outlaw the taking of said substances. For this reason the Police have no legislation to call on, other than to issue a PSPO fixed penalty notice to those individuals who are under the influence of NPS [invariably in full view of everyone on Lord Street, this being a popular place for them to congregate].

    The use of NPS is a major concern for officers and elected members as these drugs are already having a measurable effect on the demeanour of users. For me the drug being cheap and legal has led to youths being targeted by dealers. Constituents are regularly highlighting that they are finding plastic bags [usually labelled with an emblem such as a bulldog which are used to hold NPS], in locations frequented by teenagers.

    Led by Cllr Hugh Jones, various agencies are meeting weekly to review the homeless issue, with a view to ensuring a holistic approach is delivered to tackle the issues of ASB in our town-centre. This group have compiled a lengthy “Town-centre Action Plan” to work through.

    As town-centre ward members Steve Wilson and I along with others have attended meetings convened to update us on what work has been carried out to-date by this Group. Whilst early days I have every confidence results will be delivered, be it not at the pace everyone expects.

    Since the meeting convened in October by Andrew Atkinson to address the concerns of traders in Pen y Bryn, I have supported Offa Community Council’s decision to locate one of their portable CCTV cameras to Pen y Bryn.

    Also with the agreement of fellow Cllrs Steve Wilson and IDavid Bithell, I have meet with the following service bodies, so as to gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding how drug and alcohol support agencies operate in Wrexham:

    CAIS – visited Champions House, their Soup Dragon setup on King Street and the My Hafan Wen drug recovery centre. CAIS volunteers who are in remission kindly ran a clean up a rough sleepers encampment on Morrisons cycle way. My discussions with these volunteers highlighted their commitment to put something back into their community and to make something of their second chance. Through talking it was apparent to me that the system is not designed to ensure work experiences and reasonable housing are made readily available for those individuals in remission, thereby making it difficult for them to move on in their lives.

    Wallich – meet with the operational manager for Ty Croseo and their regional manager – received a guided tour of Ty Croseo and Richmond House., which are based on Grosvenor Rd

    Elms – meet with the site manager and the regional commissioning officer for Betsicadwalader Health Board, to go through their redevelopment plans for the Elms and to gain an understanding of the work carried out there.

    Evidence has also been gathered from:

    Grosvenor Road businesses – entered into dialogue with two of the businesses which are located close to Ty Croseo, to gain a better understanding of their concerns relating to gangs of adults congregating on the highway near to their offices and said individuals using their land for ASB activities.

    Amazing Grace Spaces , Newport based charity – have engaged with the person behind a Newport based charity which is exploring the possibility of delivering alternative self-contained accommodation at a cost of less than £20k per unit, as an alternative to the homeless being housed in HMO’s. Discussions are on going about the possibility of a joint project being promoted to HM Berwyn.

    Since the Rhosddu Residents meeting Steve Wilson, IDavid Bithell and I have requested:

    Fellow ruling coalition elected members to support our request for sharp bins to be made available free of charge to private land owners whose land has been littered with discarded needles. WCBC currently charge £20 per sharps box, which the Task & Finish Group recommended should be borne by the Welsh Government, as they ought not to leave it to chance how the 250,000 needles issued every year in Wrexham are collected and disposed of safely. Their response is being sought so our request is a temporary fix whilst we await an announcement.

    WCBC Lead Members with Strategic Housing and Planning portfolios review the impact HMO’s are having on the lives of those who live in those wards which circulate the town-centre ie Rhosddu, Bradley Rd, Victoria Rd, Ruabon Rd, Sailsbury Rd, Smithfield.

    We have also asked for assurances off Cllr Hugh Jones as to how WCBC in partnership with others will address the despair expressed by Rhosddu residents, with regards to the blatant drug dealing which is taking place on their residential streets. This problem is as prevalent in any of the wards that circle the town-centre, along with others.

    We are aware that Cllr Hugh Jones will be pursuing a more robust policing of the Bus Station by staff employed by WCBC.

    Cllr’s Steve Wilson and IDavid Bithll ans wel as myseld have started an electronic/paper petition for town-centre residents to use to register their desire to see Bodies of Authority deliver solutions which will fight back against the onslaught town-cntre ward communities are enduring on a daily basis.

    Further research which I need to carry out includes:

    A visit to WCBC’s new CCTV room to gauge its effectiveness as a tool to monitor drug dealing and individuals injecting in public space within the town-centre.
    To meet with DSS officials to ascertain the benefit entitlement street sleepers and long term unemployed are entitled to claim. I am aware for instance from one rough sleeper that he claims invalidity benefits whilst sleeping on the street. These payments to me seem to be supporting this individual’s drug addiction rather than catering for his disability.
    Visit Amazing Grace Spaces in Newport and to link up with HM Berwyn.
    To meet with WCBC officers later this month to address the proliferation of commercial bins on the highway in our town-centre, which are regularly rummaged through by rough sleepers searching for discarded food and residual bottled beer.
    Engage with fellow elected members to see if a Task and Finish Group ought to be setup to look at the workings of the Pharmacy led needle dispensaries and their impact on the localities from which they operate.

    I hope I have demonstrated that those Councillors whose wards are affected by the issues outlined are taking this matter seriously and will not rest until measurable progress is delivered.

    Regards
    Cllr Phil Wynn

    #122872
    Sheefag
    Sheefag
    Participant

    That’s a lot of words Phil but the problem still remains.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the powers that be are forcing the ordinary, decent people towards vigilantism.

    #122908

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    Sheefag…I hope you are at least prepared to acknowledge that there is currently lots going on behind the scenes which I’ve thought helpful to share with you. I accept the proof is in the eating so I would be bitterly disappointed if noticeable changes aren’t delivered very soon.

    In the meantime please consider signing the petition set up in recognition of the sentiment expressed by Rhosddu residents this time last week.

    Link to petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-rhosddu-residents

    Cllr P. Wynn

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