Drug use and related crime in Ludlow needs tackling

Concern and anger about drug use and related crime in Ludlow has been growing in recent weeks. Drug use and abuse has led to an increase in shoplifting and burglaries by addicts and dealers desperate to grab items they can sell to buy more drugs or pay their drug debts.

Shoplifting has taken in place in broad daylight. Sometimes under the noses of security. Shopwindows have been smashed overnight and goods stolen. These goods are usually of no use to the thieves. They are to be exchanged for drugs or money for drugs. Those drugs quite often include cocaine supplied from cities such as Birmingham.

West Mercia Police have told the Shropshire Star that there is no significant problem with drug use in Ludlow.

Also speaking to the Shropshire Star, Tracey Huffer said:

“I’ve lived in Ludlow all my life. There has always been some drug use and trading,  but it appears to be worse than ever.

“There are whole families, parents and children peddling and using drugs.

“Communities are talking about this. Councillors are talking about this. Children are talking about it. Health professionals are concerned that the problem is escalating out of control. The only people who seem not to be talking about it is the police.

“Some of the thefts are blatant. I witnessed a known thief running out of Boots holding a box of deodorant. That would have probably been sold for drug money. Thieves in supermarkets are not often challenged even when there are security staff.

“When there is a request for a police presence, officers are called out from Leominster or Bridgnorth. There are few police based in Ludlow’s police station.

“There is a significant danger of locking young people into a life of criminality. Of lives being wasted. Of families being wrecked.”

The police take a different view. Inspector Ingrid Tozer of the South Shropshire Safer Neighbourhood Team told the Shropshire Star:

“We can reassure the community that there is not a significant issue with illegal drugs in the town. We take a proactive and intelligence-led approach to tackling illegal drug use.

“Targeting prolific offenders, we have issued Criminal Behaviour Orders prohibiting people from entering certain parts of the town and we also address offending often linked to illegal drug use, such as shoplifting.”

She said that police presence on the streets of Ludlow have been increased.

Regardless of that statement, there have not been many police on the streets in Ludlow for a very long while. The police used to patrol areas they knew. They knew the communities and the people they were there to protect. They could spot the people who were on the wrong side of the law.

Now we usually only see police in their cars, going through town at speed but not pacing the beat. They don’t seem to know Ludlow any more.

We need an increased police presence to get on top of this problem before it gets worse.

I am concerned that there will be little police over on the beat over the Christmas break. Those that steal and those that steal to fund a drug habit will take advantage of that.

At a time when many retailers are struggling in Ludlow, this will add to trader’s woes and make our town a less attractive place to do business and shop.

6 comments on Drug use and related crime in Ludlow needs tackling

  1. There’s obviously a growing problem in Ludlow with addiction-related crime. And unfortunately, even with a greater police presence, it’s only going to get worse; the current strategy of prohibition (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) has been failing for the past 52 years. It’s foolish not to change tack.

    However appealing the punitive approach, prison is essentially like sending someone to ‘crime university’. A public health-oriented approach to drug addiction would focus on prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. This approach would prioritize the health and well-being of individuals who use drugs, rather than punishing them for their drug use. Treatment programs would provide support and care for people who are struggling with addiction, helping them to overcome their addiction and improve their health and well-being. Harm reduction programs would aim to reduce the negative consequences of drug use, such as overdose and the spread of infectious diseases. When the addict is treated as a patient, they no longer need to steal to pay the dealer. Criminal networks are defunded, the cycle is broken.

    The Portuguese model provides good supporting data for this approach. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized the possession and use of all drugs, and instead focused on providing treatment and support for people who use drugs. Since then, Portugal has seen a significant reduction in drug-related crime, HIV infections, and drug-related deaths .

    I understand the reluctance of politicians to change policy — after all, the idea of punishing the ‘dirty addicts’ appeals to many as a knee-jerk policy and is perceived as an easy vote-winner. But an analysis of the data shows there is a better approach that actually works. It’s also significantly cheaper for the taxpayer even before the reduced crime costs are added.

    And let’s remember that this is inextricably linked with failing economic policy. There are cokeheads in the House of Commons who are (allegedly) functional addicts, however they don’t need to steal from Boots to fund their habit.

  2. No drug concerns I could list about 6-7 houses that all use and sell in ludlow police are a joke

    1. I live quite close to the police station and have observed several times, people in obvious distress trying to report a crime and they are made to stand outside the barely opened door, whilst an officer cranes their head round it suggesting they phone it in! Do the police have some kind of policy whereby Ludlow Station is out of bounds to the public? They occasionally put out a board saying a CSO is available but crime isn’t committed by their timetable, the door should be open for the public to enter at any time to report or ask assistance. Instead it appears like the police are hiding in there, dissuading public contact and as Andy says, mostly only seen speeding off in their cars, usually in the direction of the A49 bypass. If the police are indeed increasing patrols on foot, that is to be welcomed, but they have a way to go to convince people that they are actually part of our community and the public aren’t an hindrance they have to avoid

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