How to help police win city's war on drugs

Police have charged two men with theft and breaking COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Luke Powell

Police have made anti-social behaviour and drug use a priority over the last three months in Norwich - Credit: Archant

City folk have been urged to dob in a dealer to get drugs off Norwich's streets.

An increase in recreational drug use has been reported across the city now the weather has improved and the nights are longer.

And police and politicians agree the public can be the eyes and ears of the force. 

City councillor for the Mancroft ward Martin Schmierer (Green) has highlighted issues with drug use along Riverside Walk near where dozens of homes overlook the river just off Coslany Street.

Mr Schmierer said: "In the warmer months people often sit along that riverbank and a small minority are dealing drugs and urinating in public. They are also sometimes using foul language.

"It's not pleasant for homeowners and walkers like myself going along there. It's important police continue to increase foot patrols and make it one of their priorities." 

Mancroft ward councillor Martin Schmierer.
Picture: Simon Finlay

Mancroft ward councillor Martin Schmierer. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The councillor is calling for CCTV to be installed alongside riverside areas and said police have made anti-social behaviour along the Riverside Walk a priority over the last three months.

Other areas have seen similar issues across the city including West End Street Gardens and Anderson's Meadow in the Mile Cross ward.

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Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North (Cons) said people need to help the police to crack the problem.

She added: "It's worrying to see a rise in drug use and I'd urge the community to work with the police in their efforts on this so that everyone can be safer."

The MP has worked with policing teams in the city to help address county lines and other drug problems. 

Norwich Norfolk Conservative MP Chloe Smith Photo : UK Parliament

Norwich North's Conservative MP Chloe Smith - Credit: UK Parliament

Superintendent Terry Lordan, district commander for Norwich, emphasised that tackling drug use requires a multi-agency approach. 

He said: "Policing drug use alone will never solve the problem. It requires a wider approach in terms of public health and supporting those with addictions.

"We will absolutely take positive action. Norwich is very lucky to have very good beat manager teams that work and operate across the county. They often receive certain information about areas and take on community-intelligence reports." 

Supt Terry Lordan said people can report an incident anonymously via Crimestoppers. Picture: Nick Bu

Supt Terry Lordan said people can report an incident anonymously via Crimestoppers. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The policing chief also encouraged people to attend SNAP public meetings where they can raise concerns about issues in the community and hear updates on how police are tackling problems.

City councillor Vaughan Thomas (Lab) who represents the Mile Cross ward where there have been persistent drug problems, said he has heard reports from concerned people living in the area.

Mr Thomas added: "We certainly do not want to see it on the street or publicly. It is so widespread and it is increasing.

"I have not got the measure of impact but it is going on around the city and it needs to be sorted." 

Lord Mayor of Norwich and Mile Cross ward councillor for Norwich City Council Vaughan Thomas in Wens

Lord Mayor of Norwich and Mile Cross ward councillor for Norwich City Council Vaughan Thomas in Wensum Park. Picture: Sophie Wyllie - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

The councillor believes those who are taking drugs should be seeking support from their GP. 

But as 25-year-old city rapper Shane Harvey explained, drug users often struggle to kick their habit. 

The rapper, who goes by the moniker Creepzz, grew up surrounded by what he described as "the wrong crowd". 

He said the summer months are the worst time of the year for drugs use as people enjoy partying outside when the weather is nice and the days are long.

Norwich rapper Creepzz aka Shane Harvey has turned his life around using music

Norwich rapper Creepzz aka Shane Harvey has turned his life around using music - Credit: Contributed

The rapper - who now lives in Lowestoft with his girlfriend - said: "When the sun is out there can be a lot of drink and drugs. A lot of these people are not bothered by the threat of police.

"They feel invincible and as if no one can touch them. I saw two people injecting heroin in a shop doorway about three weeks ago. How can you explain what they are doing to a little kid?" 

Mr Harvey is aware of issues with drugs use along Riverside Walk.

Commenting on the area, he said: "There are little kids and families walking with buggies along there. They do not want to be seeing that."