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Families ‘living in fear’ call for extra security to keep out drug gangs

PUBLISHED: 15:11 10 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:27 10 May 2020

Insp Mike Austin said drug dealing and use have become prevalent at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich. Pictures: Simon Parkin/Norfolk Police

Insp Mike Austin said drug dealing and use have become prevalent at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich. Pictures: Simon Parkin/Norfolk Police

Simon Parkin/Norfolk Police

Residents plagued by drug dealers and users have called for new security measures to drive out crime and anti-social behaviour.

50 residents at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich signed a petition for new door entry security systems to keep out drug dealers and users. Picture: Simon Parkin50 residents at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich signed a petition for new door entry security systems to keep out drug dealers and users. Picture: Simon Parkin

People living in flats at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road say drug dealing and crime has become “intolerable” with some reporting non-residents openly using drugs outside their homes after gaining access.

A petition signed by 50 residents of the council owned flats was presented to Norwich City Council’s cabinet committee in March calling for the installation of new secure door systems to keep people out.

Drug users and County Lines dealers target Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich because there is easy access and multiple escape routes. Picture: Getty ImagesDrug users and County Lines dealers target Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich because there is easy access and multiple escape routes. Picture: Getty Images

The appeal for better security has been backed by the police who said they have seen increasing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

MORE: Drug addicts are ruining our lives but council does nothing, residents claim

Insp Mike Austin, local policing commander, said: “It is clear from the information that we have that drug dealing and use have become prevalent in these areas impacting on the safety and wellbeing of the residents.

Residents have complained anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and discarded needles and drug paraphernalia are common at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich. Picture: Simon ParkinResidents have complained anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and discarded needles and drug paraphernalia are common at Gordon Square and Goldwell Road in Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

“The main reason that it has become attractive for drug dealing and drug use is the ease of access into the communal areas.”

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Local ward councillor Ian Stutely who has been working with residents said anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and discarded needles and drug paraphernalia in areas where children play had become common.

He said many had been too fearful to report criminal activity and this was “symptomatic of a situation that has become entirely normalised”.

Drug deals are also happening in Ashby Street before users head for shleter of the flats in Gordon Square and Goldwell Road, local councillors have claimed. Picture: GoogleDrug deals are also happening in Ashby Street before users head for shleter of the flats in Gordon Square and Goldwell Road, local councillors have claimed. Picture: Google

“The prevalence of drug dealing and drug use is an intolerable issue in our community. People say drug use and County Lines dealers target this area because there is easy access and multiple escape routes,” he added.

“People congregate day and night to use and deal drugs on stairwells and landings. Families are living in fear.”

Ian Stutely, councillor for Town Close Ward, who has worked with local residents to call for better security measures. Picture: Labour PartyIan Stutely, councillor for Town Close Ward, who has worked with local residents to call for better security measures. Picture: Labour Party

MORE: Two men arrested after drugs, cash and phones seized in Norwich

Councillor Gair Harris, cabinet member for social housing, said: “We are very aware of the high importance of the safety and security of our residents and in particular the contribution that the installation of a lobby entry control system can bring.”

She said the council had increased funding community safety initiatives to £1.9m in 2020-21 with an additional £320,000 for door entry systems.

“The head of neighbourhood housing services will be working with officers, local members and NPS Norwich to develop new priorities and a new programme for the installation of door entry systems,” she said.

“These priorities will be established according to the most need, evidence from reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity and where the installation of a door entry system will make a positive contribution. That is why it is so important for residents to report issues of crime and disorder to help identity and hot spots.”


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