November 9, 2018 2.04 pm This story is over 36 months old

Public pleas and policing ‘made a difference’ in Lincoln city centre

Drug taking and homelessness focus in Lincoln

Police have made 55 arrests off the back of a huge public call-out, media campaigns and a new initiative by the force to tackle drug taking, homelessness and anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

Lincoln leaders met to discuss policing issues in the city centre as part of a panel organised by MP Karen Lee at The Showroom on Thursday, November 8.

Before a live audience, the group highlighted recent successes in partnership working, including how to police issues linked with “complex” mental health issues.

Simon Walters, strategic director of communities and environment at City of Lincoln Council said: “For the first time, with this intervention, there really is no need for anybody to be sleeping rough in the city centre.

“There’s a bed for everybody, a pathway for everybody to support them.”

Audience members raised concerns over an “inadequate” mental health service and help for those leaving prison and ex-forces homeless.

Panel members denied services were “inadequate”, but acknowledged there was an issue of “underfunding”.

Jane Marshall, director of strategy at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (LPFT), said a positive move to talking more about mental health issues had resulted in more people wanting help and earlier diagnosis.

Karen Lee said she felt “there’s some hope”.

Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector Stewart Brinn said work by police had made a huge difference.

A new Evita Team, which commenced in August, had carried out 62 stop searches, resulting in arrests for offences including human trafficking, recall to prison and supplying drugs.

It follows other successes, including a week of raids in early August which saw 61 arrests and 52 outcomes including tackling some of the cities biggest suppliers.

He criticised what he thought were premature media campaigns which he said meant police had had to “stomach” negative comments prior to the raids.

Following the panel, Mr Brinn said: “Let’s be blunt, somebody who’s peddling drugs is causing misery, they’re somebody who’s likely to be in the same organised gangs that do child trafficking, human slavery, it’s all part of an organised crime business.

“By making Lincoln very difficult to operate and cutting off the supply network they’ll hopefully go elsewhere.”

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