Police move to defend record on Evesham drug and anti-social behaviour fight - The Evesham Observer

Police move to defend record on Evesham drug and anti-social behaviour fight

Evesham Editorial 17th Nov, 2023   0

POLICE chiefs have defended their work to tackle drugs and anti-social behaviour after the Mayor of Evesham said drug dealing in the town was ‘getting out of hand’.

Coun Alan Booth hit the headlines last month with his comments at the October meeting of Evesham Town Council in which he claimed dealers could be seen ‘every 10 or 20 yards’.

Officers from Evesham Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have sought to reassure members of the public they can be confident in local policing efforts – working with community partners – to deal with ‘perceived problems’ in the area.

SNT officers attended a meeting of the town council on Monday (November 13) to speak to councillors and members of the public and talked about improving communications, including attending future meetings.

Fresh measures being planned include a public Q&A session to address community issues, clarify concerns and debunk myths about local crime.

Other measures include bringing in a dedicated retail crime officer, and a parish newsletter to communicate more effectively about local policing priorities.

According to West Mercis Police, Evesham has seen a population growth rate of 24 per cent over the last two decades, which is 10 to 15 per cent higher than nearby Droitwich and Worcester.

Despite this, the median number of anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents per month is 11, which peaked in February when there were 14 incidents, coinciding with groups being dispersed from Worcester city centre – but this returned to 11 in September.

Insp Dave Wise, the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Inspector for Wychavon, said: “It is worth noting Evesham experienced some unlawful encampments this summer which are recorded as ASB and in turn can often generate further complaints of ASB.

“The neighbourhood team were involved in managing these encampments and on several occasions invoked legislation when appropriate to move groups on from the area.”

In Evesham there are eight individuals currently subject to Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) designed to curb bad behaviour, due wholly or in part to their previous ASB.

And, of those individuals involved in ASB, the force is currently successfully diverting more than half, meaning they have not been involved in another incident for more than 12 months.

Insp Wise added: “In addition to such regular meetings, Evesham SNT has this year trained 10 new street pastors around issues of drugs, knives, and public safety; collaborated with Trading Standards to tackle illegal sales of tobacco and vapes; targeted sites linked to organised crime; and worked with pubs, bars, and nightclubs to tackle nuisance behaviour.”

With regards to concerns about drug dealing, the force said recorded crime related to drug offending is ‘consistently low’.

Last week, five members of a County Lines gang operating in Evesham were sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison and another dealer was given a seven-year sentence.

In the last 12 months, 23 lines (a line is the name of the telephone number, or ‘deal line’, used to run an organised drug-dealing network) have been shut down across south Worcestershire.


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