A multi-agency operation in Mansfield to tackle issues relating to antisocial behaviour and use of the mamba drug, has been extended having been hailed a success.
The initial 12-week operation involving the Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, Mansfield District Council, local Neighbourhood team and charities such as Framework and the Mansfield Soup Kitchen, was initiated as a response to concerns raised by local residents and businesses.
Through a dedicated town centre multi-agency team, it aimed to help and support individuals effected by homelessness and mamba-use as an initial approach, ensuring they got the help they needed and signposting them to appropriate agencies wherever possible.
However, where people refused help, continued to cause issues or commit crimes, such as antisocial behaviour (ASB) and drug offences, positive action was taken through arrest or summons to court.
Additional resources were drafted in to make up the team of eleven police officers working on the project around the clock, as well as town centre community protection officers and charity workers.
It has resulted in 43 arrests relating to ASB and mamba, and an increase in the use of police dispersal powers and stop and search. A total of 145 directions to leave have been issued by police officers and town centre wardens.
As a last resort, officers have been dispersing people begging in the town at night and this has also been making a big difference. There has also been an increase in the number of Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) issued. A drugs warrant conducted in the town centre recently also resulted in two people being reported for summons to court for possession offences.
Neighbourhood sergeant Paul Peatfield said: "We have seen some fantastic results during this joint operation and I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and persistence. Local people and business owners are now starting to positively comment on the noticeable difference.
"There is no doubt that there are now less people visibly under the influence of mamba in the town centre. That said, mamba supply, possession and use along with rough sleeping and antisocial behaviour remains a priority to us and our partners and we will not get complacent."
The operation has been extended beyond the initial 12 weeks and will be reviewed on a monthly basis.
As the action continues to grow, officers are looking to develop the use of intelligence gathering around those who are potentially supplying mamba, and executing warrants where necessary.
Executive Mayor of Mansfield Kate Allsop said: "We are pleased that our partnership approach is having a positive impact on the antisocial behaviour we’ve been experiencing in the town centre.
"The individuals involved are very vulnerable and have very complex needs and we need to help them. Mansfield District Council has just employed a new substance misuse outreach worker to work alongside mental health and homeless outreach workers to break the cycle of drug use, tackle the root causes, get them into permanent accommodation and help them to turn their lives around.
"We will continue to do everything we can so residents, traders and visitors feel safe in our town centre."
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "These substances are a major issue right across the country. I know that Nottinghamshire Police are working hard to tackle the problems, but this is not something we can solve by enforcement alone.
"That’s why I was pleased to help fund this successful partnership project, which has achieved a lot in a short period of time. Hopefully we can keep this approach going while it is needed."
The team are keen to hear from anyone concerned about drug taking in Mansfield or anyone with any information that could help combat it. You can call 101 and ask for the Mansfield Neighbourhood Team or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.