Local Democracy Weekly: Drug crisis team needs to instil confidence

When the City of Lincoln Council announced that it was going to tackle the “complexity” of the city’s drug and anti-social behaviour problem, it was met with a mixed response fuelled by cynicism and frustration with the system.

The sight of vulnerable people lying on the pavement or next to the Brayford has wained on the publicand grown a lack of confidence in the authority to come up with a suitable plan. Proposals to tackle the problem are either too late or will not solve what has been an issue for many years, they say. Others claim the council’s strategy to close “intimidating” areas, such as St Peter’s Passage, and send out the intervention team to help the addicted will only move the issue elsewhere.


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But, the new team tasked with hitting the city’s woes head on is bullish. They’ve injected a sense of confidence into their roles which will see them on the frontline helping people before the police become involved.

Tom Snowden, who is one of the newly appointed recovery workers, said the project will “deal with the crux” of the city’s anti-social behaviour problem. Along with Yvette Hall, who is seconded from her security role at Lincon BIG, the pair will be soon joined by a mental health worker to complete the council’s vision.

Tom Snowden and Yvette Hall, City of Lincoln Council intervention team members.

But, the team is on trial for 12 months, after which it will be reviewed. It’s a big task and one that needs to be seen to be working. This was something that Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, recognised when he dedicated more officers to the problem over the summer.

Visibility is key to the public’s confidence in the system. It is a complex problem, blighted by mental health issues, lack of outreach and long overdue authority co-operation, which the police and the council insist this new team will tackle.

But until fewer people are seen hanging around alleyways or collapsed on the pavement, the public and the businesses alike will not be convinced that it is working.


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