Cocaine use described as ‘rife’
Cocaine use has now become “rife” among people from all walks of life, it has been claimed, with the ‘Class A’ drug being more common than heroin and cannabis.
The claims were made as the Police and Crime Commissioner addressed councillors on Anglesey, who outlined his plan to ramp up the ongoing crackdown on online sexual predators and county lines drugs gangs.
But while member welcomed Arfon Jones’ plans for policing in the region, concerns were raised that the use of cocaine was becoming especially problematic both on the island and beyond.
According to one Llangefni councillor, while the scurge of heroin addiction has become less common over recent years, this has been replaced by a stark rise in the use of cocaine – which was confirmed by officers carrying out the Christmas period crackdown on drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“The problems at the beginning of my term (as councillor in 2013) seemed to a number of heroin users on the street, which in itself was quite visible,” said Cllr Nicola Roberts, addressing the Partnership & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee meeting in Llangefni on Tuesday.
“By now I feel that has come down dramatically in Llangefni but what is noticeable, when going out for a meal with family or for a drink, is the use of drugs in local pubs.
“I couldn’t explain it in any other terms but that its rife, you can’t go out to many places there days without witnessing it in some form.
“How is this being tackled? I know there have been projects in Holyhead but I’m not sure the same can be said for elsewhere.”
In response, Superintendent Richie Green said: “What we’ve seen over the past year, especially on Anglesey and Bangor, is a rise in cocaine use rather than heroin.
“But as part of the Christmas period crackdown, where we usually use breathalysers but can also now test for drugs, for the first time we found that cocaine was more prevalent that cannabis.
“Most, if not all of those (found having taken cannabis) were in employment, but this is what’s keeping county lines going.
“Its not always who you’d suspect, that’s why you may not see it on the streets. But how do you stop it?
“The vast majority of pubs are working very closely with us in this regard, but we will close them down if not.”
Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner, concluded, “We won’t necessarily be able to stop the supply while the demand is still there.
“We need to tackle the demand, there are ways we can do that, but we also need the Government to look at this problem.”
Meanwhile, councillors were also told there would be an extra five police officers patrolling the island from this coming spring, the first wave of a national drive to recuit more bobbies on the beat.
In all, North Wales Police expect to appoint 200 extra officers over the coming years as part of a UK Government pledge to boost policing in England and Wales to the tune of 20,000 over the next three years.
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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