January 13, 2021 3.31 pm This story is over 34 months old

Protection order extended into anti-social hotspot where drug deals happen “literally daily”

Councillors call for stricter enforcement

Lincoln councillors agreed to extend a protection order into an area of the city where “you can often see drug dealers literally daily”.

The policy scrutiny committee was told that street drinking and drug-related anti-social behaviour had reduced since the introduction of the Public Spaces Protection Order in the city centre.

They also voted in favour of extending the order to cover St Rumbold Street, off Broadgate, near the YMCA accommodation.

Councillors were told that an increase in problems in the area was not because trouble-makers had been pushed out of the order’s boundaries.

Instead, it was recognised that “really great resources” including drug addiction treatment and homeless services in the area, were one of the main reasons behind a rise.

“That issue is that we’ve got a number of really great resources for them, but it means that they sort of tend to gravitate to that area,” said Francesca Bell, the council’s public protection, anti-social behaviour and licensing service manager.

“So they go there for their breakfast at the Baptist Church, their friends may be staying at the YMCA, and they just will stay in that general area.”

She told councillors it was hoped the extension of the order would not push anti-social behaviour into the Arboretum nearby, on Monks Road.

Councillor Alan Briggs said he had personally observed a lot of anti-social behaviour in the area and welcomed the extension.

He said: “You can often see dealers daily literally dealing drugs on the street, just outside the car park entrance.”

St Rumbold’s Street, Lincoln. Photo: Google Street View

Councillor Gary Hewson, however, said there needed to be stricter measures and more action taken to take offenders off the streets when they were not using the services.

“People are saying to me, because they get called names when they’re walking past these individuals, it does aggrieve people when we put these orders in place and nothing [is done].

“Why are we allowing people to be sat around drinking on the High Street or wherever? Surely it’s pointless having these things unless we are going to be a bit more with a stick, you know, and obviously found the carrot at the end.

“We should be a bit more stricter with these people. It’s not fair, nobody wants to even if they’re not calling names as people walk past. It doesn’t look good on the city if these people are sat around drinking alcohol or whatever.”

Map of the PSPO including the proposed new Zone E.

Ms Bell said she council, and the organisations did engage with each other over issues, but said hands were “a little bit tied”.

She said addictions could be “really complex and difficult to break up,” but agreed the order needed to be enforced.

She added that police resources were limited, but that a new city centre enforcement team had helped to improve the response.