New members of a Lincoln city centre team who will be tackling anti-social behaviour have said they are confident that the project can make a difference.
Following widespread problems of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, the City of Lincoln Council put £61,000 into an intervention team tasked with dealing with the issue head on.
Council leader, Councillor Ric Metcalfe, said that the team were part of a wider strategy to help to tackle the “complexity” of the problem.
Now, two of the newly appointed members of the team have said they believe the scheme can help ease the city’s problem.
Tom Snowden, recovery worker, and Yvette Hall, who has been seconded from her security role at Lincoln BIG, will be on the frontline in maintaining public safety.
The idea of the team is for vulnerable people to access help before any enforcement is taken.
Tom said the scheme was unique and not something he has seen before.
“My initial thoughts were excitement,” he said.
“It seems quite innovative, it’s trying to deal with the crux of the problem rather than dealing with the symptoms.
“That’s commendable and I’m looking forward to working on it.”
The dedicated team will now run for 12 months on a trial period as the council looks to take action on problems facing the city centre.
Extra officers were announced by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to address the problem. Watch our interview below.
It comes after incidents of begging, rough sleeping and addiction-related anti-social behaviour increased from 330 in 2016 to 499 reports in the following year.
The team has already began work as part of an overall strategy, with a mental health worker expected to start soon.
Around five or six cases have already been taken on by the team, as well as a number that were already being handled by the council prior to the new scheme.
Yvette said that the team was an “opportunity” to address some of the problems that surround anti-social behaviour.
“You see people coming in and out of prison all the time,” she said.
“The reasons for that are not addressed a lot of the time, so I think that this is a good opportunity to address some of the mental health and addiction issues.”
They added that they felt they were confident that the scheme could make a difference to the city centre.
“Absolutely, I think it is something that hasn’t been tried before,” said Tom.
Meanwhile, Jon Mellor, city centre sergeant for Lincolnshire Police, said the scheme had been a while coming.
“It’s been a little while coming, it’s taken some funding from different agencies, partners and central government,” he said.
“But it’s a really good start.
“All the different agencies had been working towards similar goals, but from separate areas and management. This brings everything together.”
He added that the scheme will help for there to be a “bigger impact” on the problem in the city centre.
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