A businessman says it’s a “total disgrace” that Derby City Council is not yet using new powers that could be used to impose tough penalties on people dealing and taking drugs in the city centre.
Guido Basile says the authority should be using Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) to ban people causing problems from certain areas for long periods or fine them. Currently, the police can use dispersal orders banning people from certain spots for 48 hours.
A PSPO could be permanent and could be used for people who are under the influence of drugs or who are begging – problems which have blighted Derby city centre for months and led to numerous police operations to tackle them.
Mr Basile, who is spending £200,000 converting the former Curzons nightclub in Curzon Street into a bar and diner, said he had heard about the PSPOs and was “furious” they not yet been intoduced.
A spokesman for Derby City Council said the authority also wanted to see the orders introduced but a public consultation process that had to be carried out first had not yet started.
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Mr Basile said: “This is a total disgrace. These orders need to come in as soon as possible and I cannot understand why a public consultation has not even started yet. The problem of drug taking, drinking and begging in the city centre is such a huge problem. They can surely see the level of public anger by reading the paper and going out and talking to people.
“Why has it not started yet? They are waiting and waiting yet the situation is getting worse. This is the state of our city – it’s very serious.
“Derby city centre looks like a disaster zone. People taking and dealing drugs is such a widespread problem affecting so many people. We see people regularly like zombies on drugs. Yet the public consultation into these new orders have not even started – why? It’s a joke.”
In the last few months, Derbyshire police have carried out a number of raids and have arrested numerous people on suspicion of dealing and taking drugs, including Black Mamba, a synthetic form of cannabis which used to be legal.
Last week, officers dealing with the problem made five arrests, including of one man for possession of suspected cannabis. It also issued seven dispersal orders.
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Derby city centre sergeant Becky Webster said: “We are continuing with our pro-active approach and keep engaging with our partners, including Derby City Council, to find a longer-term sollution.”
A spokesperson for Derby City Council said: “We are looking at the introduction of Public Space Protection Orders. There will be a public consultation in due course and we are currently collating additional data to support the process.’
Source: Derby Telegraph