Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has said local authorities must “build a partnership” in order to tackle spice use across the county.
Speaking following the ‘State of Ashfield Debate’ concerning crime in the district, Mr Tipping stressed a need to identify the “most difficult people” and support them in recovery.
He suggested that most spice users have experienced “really difficult life chances” and that focus should be on the dealers, rather than the users.
He said: “We need to work together on this.
“These are people who are in very distressing situations and I think we need to focus on them over a period of time to get them off drugs.
“If we can build a partnership and identify both the people are that are causing problems, and what the ways are to help them, then we will make some progress.
“I have spent a lot of time talking with colleagues in the NHS about how to deal with this.
“Each district has got community wardens, but when they see people collapsing on street they are not in a position to intervene.
“Where is the ambulance service? Why are they not responding?
“They don’t respond because they have got other priorities, but this is the point that I am making.
“It is not an easy win, and it is a long-term public health campaign that will take a while to deliver.”
Nottinghamshire’s chief constable Craig Guildford, who was also in attendance at the meeting, echoed Mr Tipping’s sentiment.
He said: “I don’t think it is wise going after the users because at the end of the day it doesn’t get spice off our streets.
“What we need to do is target the dealers who are one or two up from the streets, cutting off supply altogether.
“It is not the case of arresting your way out of a problem, it needs to be a strategic approach which recognises the personal problems of users.
“We need to work with each person individually, and only when there is serious cases of anti-social behaviour should we be making arrests.”