Mansfield District Council has become the first council in Nottinghamshire to take an innovative new approach to tackling antisocial behaviour caused by the drug Mamba
The council already has both homeless and mental health outreach workers helping members of the street community, but from this week they have been joined by an officer dedicated to dealing with substance misuse.
This approach aims to break the cycle of dependence on Mamba and Spice as well as other drugs and alcohol, tackle the root causes of substance misuse and encourage users to make permanent changes to their lifestyle.
The council has been working with the Police, and other partners including Framework, Change Grow Live (CGL) and Mansfield Homeless Network, in a bid to resolve the unprecedented issue of antisocial behaviour related to Mamba use in Mansfield Town Centre over this last year.
The outreach workers get to know each individual so that they can offer tailored support in order to make life changes that will help the community by reducing antisocial behaviour and dependency on services.
Changing long-standing habits is complicated and the first thing needed is willingness on the part of drug users to accept help and a desire to beat their addictions. This is one of the many difficulties faced by the outreach workers as their help is often turned down.
Executive Mayor of Mansfield Kate Allsop said: “We can’t stress how seriously we are taking this issue as we understand the impact it is having on residents, businesses, market traders and visitors. We are using all the enforcement powers available to us, along with the Police who have made this their top priority - but enforcement alone doesn't work.
"We have successfully helped a small number of people with complex needs turn their lives around in the past and we see this extra resource as key to building on this work.
"However, this isn't something that is going to be resolved overnight and we are constantly reviewing what we are doing and looking at what others are doing nationwide to ensure we are doing all we can."
As well as the help and support for users, there are more police officers and Neighbourhood Wardens working in the Town Centre than ever before. The Police have one sergeant, six constables and four (soon increasing to six) PCSOs dedicated to the town centre issues. They are working closely with the council's Neighbourhood Wardens, Antisocial Behaviour officers, CCTV and Legal teams.
Inspector Nick Butler said: "Although Mansfield town centre is safe statistically, we understand how people feel when they see people suffering the effects of drugs. Our increased police presence is about providing enforcement as well as reassurance and ensuring that the town is a happy and vibrant place for everyone. Mamba supply, possession and use along with rough sleeping and ASB remain a priority. We will continue to act on information received from the public in order to get positive results.”
As of 14 September, the joint police and council town team have made, 43 arrests and issued 116 Direction To Leave notices.
A drugs warrant conducted in the town centre last week resulted in two people being dealt with for possession of drugs. All this enforcement work will continue to send out the same message - that antisocial behaviour on the streets of Mansfield will not be tolerated.
If you are concerned about someone who appears to be homeless, please contact Framework on 0800 066 5356. Report any criminal activity on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.