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'Drink and drugs creating a no-go area' in Bewdley
6:00am Friday 6th September 2013 in Local
DRUG abuse and under-age drinking are plaguing the riverside town of Bewdley, making it a “no-go” area for residents at night, councillors fear.
People are avoiding the town centre after 11pm on weekends due to anti-social behaviour, which has been blighting the picturesque town for years, said Bewdley town councillors.
The council submitted their concerns to West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore in response to his annual town and parish survey.
They complained there were insufficient foot patrols in the town centre and a slow response to emergencies.
The council also said the alcohol restriction zone was not enforced and questioned whether the age ID system was working adequately.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell denied Bewdley was a “no-go zone”, however. He said regular patrols were carried out in the town.
Stephen Inman, Bewdley town clerk, said: “The council has collectively used the police and crime commissioner survey to voice some concerns about policing in Bewdley.
“I think the council members are concerned but are grateful for the opportunity to make this comment and obviously they would like to talk to the police and have all their criticisms answered.”
Supt Purcell said he had recently met bar and pub owners to discuss standards, which were being met.
“I would encourage councillors to come on patrol with us to see what is happening and how the town is policed,” he added.
He said the local policing team worked hard to enforce the ban on drinking in the Alcohol Restriction Zone and to prevent under-age drinking. He said he hoped to address the councillors at their next meeting on Monday, October 7.
Meanwhile, class A drug items have been found strewn across the streets of the riverside town.
Independent Community and Health Concern town councillor Derek Killingworth said he had seen “clear evidence” heroin was being used in the town centre, after being alerted to the presence of drug kits littered around steps leading from the library, in Load Street.
He feared addicts would overdose if nothing was done after claiming the paraphernalia was used to “burn” the class A drug and smoke cannabis.
Inspector Paul Crowley, of West Mercia Police, said he had visited the scene, however, and spoken to residents but no-one had reported drug abuse.
He added officers would be paying attention to the area in the coming weeks.
Mr Killingworth said: “It will kill people and it seems to me nothing is being done.”
Insp Crowley added: “I will be contacting Councillor Killingworth to reassure him that the police take a firm stance on drug issues and to thank him for drawing it to our attention.”
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