The West End Labour Action Team’s 5 point plan to tackle drug crime in the West End has received positive and constructive feedback from residents, as Pancho Lewis and Patrick Lilley continue to work with all in the local community who want to tackle a surge in drug-related anti-social behaviour.
The team notes with concern that:
- many residents continue to feel unsafe at night and in the early hours;
- residents do not feel safe due to “the lack of street CCTV”;
- the problem of anti-social behaviour may be “swept up the road” to neighbouring areas if a cross-borough strategy is not brought forward to tackle drug crime.
The team welcomes that:
- new lighting has been installed in parts of the area, making it more difficult for dealers to sell drugs;
- a Soho light audit is being brought forward to look at streets and corners where new lighting should be installed;
- the police is taking steps to crack down on drug dealers – although the team reiterates that far more work is needed.
West End Labour is now calling for:
- a cross-borough strategy to tackle drug crime;
- the monitoring of street CCTV cameras so residents can feel safe;
- more action on behalf of police so the spike in drug crime is brought to an end.
The team also calls on more residents to give their views on the 5 point plan. To do so please click here and submit your views confidentially or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A more detailed breakdown of the West End Labour Action Team’s latest report on drug-related ASB is set out below:
- Residents have responded to the West End team’s 5 point plan saying they “feel unsafe to walk and visit” certain parts of the borough due to the extent of anti-social behaviour, including Shaftesbury Avenue and Cambridge Circus. Others have criticised “the lack of street CCTV” –which the 5 point plan is calling for the Council to restore – and “woeful council policy” to stop drug crime.
- Some residents have written about “the issue of lack of lighting”, mirroring concerns raised in the Safer Soho public meeting at the end of September in St Anne’s Church. In response, the West End team has lobbied the Council to introduce more lighting (and monitor its effects), successfully getting more lighting installed in the alleyway between Newman Passage and Rathbone Place and call for better lighting in Richmond Mews.
- The West End Labour Action Team has called for greater cooperation between Camden and Westminster police and were pleased to attend the first Camden & Westminster joint police surgery on Monday 5th December where similar problems were brought up by residents. Sweeping the problem “up the road”must be avoided as it only provides temporary relief for one neighbourhood at the expense of another nearby. It is therefore with concern that the team has heard reports of increased anti-social behaviour & crime in Fitzrovia and Covent Garden.
- The team has called on local agencies within Westminster borough to work together to reduce homelessness and provide accessible treatment for addicts who wish to turn their lives around. West End Labour also commends the work of both care provider Turning Point and charity St Mungo’s, and is pleased to see cross party support for the Homelessness Reduction Bill that will help address the issue of single homeless people if passed. This will require extra resources and real commitment from Westminster Council. The team await further action on homelessness and addiction following “Spice” related death of Nicholas Williamson whose body was found near Trafalgar Square.
- The team welcomes that lighting has been installed on Bourchier Street, Ingestre Court and elsewhere and that a Soho light audit will be brought forward to install new lighting at priority locations.
- The 5 point plan, which called for residents to come forward with their own ideas, heard innovative ideas like removing old red phone boxes used by drug users to make the space less hospitable for drug use. The team welcomes that the Council have been in contact with BT and that there has been agreement to remove the door on phone boxes on Dean Street and Bourchier Street, and Brewer Street near Bridle Lane.
- In response to a letter sent by team member, Patrick Lilley of the West End team to Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, the West End team is pleased to have been told by the Deputy Mayor that the launch of a ‘no nights rough sleeping’ task force now has been set up to help tackle homelessness. The team also welcome that the Deputy Mayor is working with the Metropolitan police to encourage them
to more proactive in seizing drugs in the area.
- The West End team is now calling for residents to continue sharing their concerns about drug crime in the area and ideas about how to tackle drug crime and hope to see a more active Neighbourhood Watch in the ward. To give your feedback you can do so by clicking onthis link or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.