August 13, 2019 10.50 am This story is over 56 months old

Nearly 300 city centre drug arrests in one year

A dedicated policing team has been cracking down on the problem

A police team designed to crackdown on the city centre’s drug problem has made nearly 300 arrests in its first year.

The Evita Team was set up in August 2018 after The Lincolnite highlighted the visible rise in people taking drugs on the streets.

Since then, Lincolnshire Police has made 294 arrests and recovered up to £65,000 in the street value of Mamba or Spice.

Of those arrests, around 210 people who were arrested went on to be either charged, cautioned, summoned to court or were recalled to prison.

That is a 72% rate which could further increase as investigations continue.

Evita was originally designed to target the city’s most prolific offenders, the 30 people who had been most frequently arrested.

But they also work with the City of Lincoln Council’s intervention team to divert people away from criminality and anti-social behaviour.

The team works with people in need on the city centre streets.

Sergent Steve Park said: “There has been significant progress since last summer in dealing with the issues in Lincoln city centre.

“We work on the basis of supporting people through our partners, but taking zero tolerance to their criminal behaviour.

“Since the team was set up we have developed excellent relationships with other agencies, to help with mental health, housing, and substance misuse.

“We are under no illusions that the situation is perfect, but we have made great strides in 12 months and will continue to tackle the issues.”

They can direct people to get help.

Gayle Smith is service manager for Framework, which offers support to those with complex needs like substance problems and emotional issues.

She said: “The Evita team has been brilliant and we, as a team, feel a bit safer. We can call on them and they will be down in a matter of minutes.

“The team pop in on a regular basis and have a rapport with some of the service users so that they don’t see the police as a negative.

“We work with each other and we can provide information if they are looking for someone, and they can help us out too.”