DRUGS are being dealt blatantly and brazenly in some areas of Bromsgrove, nothing is being done to stop it and the perpetrators have no fear of being caught.
Those were the views expressed to the Standard and to councillors Michael Thompson and Kyle Daisley at their surgery by residents in Charford and Rock Hill.
Foxwalks Avenue, Austin Road, Collis Close, Lyttleton Avenue recreation ground, Flavel Road and Humphrey Avenue are among the areas residents claim it is rife.
The pair have worked closely with the police for several months and say, whilst the clampdown on county lines gangs is welcomed, they believe overt drug-dealing shows users and dealers are not deterred by action by the police and BDHT.
They receive several calls every week about dealing, where it is happening and where drug abuse is taking place.
Coun Thompson said: “It is the same places, the same houses and the same names – people are getting fed up of inertia.
“I understand that some believe the law should be changed but it is against the law.
“The police can arrest and BDHT can take action.
“There are vulnerable adults and children growing up seeing this every day – and the fallout from it. It has to stop and Kyle and I won’t be fobbed off about it.”
Earlier this year a working party was set up by Coun Thompson and Bromsgrove District Council leader Coun Karen May to support those with addictions and provide intelligence for the police.
Coun Thompson said: “The police and BDHT have the information and there is support there to help people stop using but more needs to be done.”
One couple in Rock Hill who contacted the Standard said they had complained to the police and Bromsgrove District Housing Trust but were left frustrated by the lack of action.
“We feel like prisoners in our home and there is no help or support for honest people living in the area.
“My wife has been threatened several times and has depression and anxiety because of it.
“I don’t want to leave her at home on her own which means I am unable to go to work and that is affecting us financially.
“I have seen drugs being dealt to children and many people feel so scared and intimidated that they turn a blind eye.”
But, he added, he would not be intimidated and urged others to speak out to stamp out the issue which had scourged the area.
Graeme Anderson, BDHT’s director of housing and communities, said: “BDHT is totally committed to resolving any drug-related issues and is an active participant in official partnership groups, including Safer Bromsgrove and the Serious and Organised Crime Focus Group.
“We want to ensure the safety of tenants and residents across Bromsgrove and the surrounding areas which is why we work incredibly closely with both West Mercia Police and Bromsgrove District Council to address all drug related issues.
“We have previously taken action where concerns have been raised and we continue to take advice and will take any measures where required.
“With a range of tenures across Bromsgrove, including other housing associations, private rented and owner occupier, it is important that we continue to work in partnership to address these issues, as they cannot be tackled in isolation.”
Insp Lee Page from Bromsgrove Police said: “While the issue of street level dealing is not exclusive to any particular area of Bromsgrove, we do appreciate the concerns raised by local councillors on behalf of the community and have discussed these at length with them.
“We enjoy a positive relationship with the residents of Charford and engage regularly via numerous channels including social media and face-to-face street surgeries.
“Information sharing and partnership working is the key to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, which is why it is important people have the confidence to report suspicious activity to the police or, if they would prefer to do so anonymously, Crimestoppers (on 0800 555 111).
“I want to reassure the community that while an immediate police response is not always possible, neighbourhood officers are on patrol in the area day in, day out – and every report we receive is acted upon.
“Bromsgrove is a safe place to live, work and visit.
“The town benefits from a very strong network of organisations working together to provide long term solutions to problems.
“Through forums such as Safer Bromsgrove, the police work hand-in-hand with the local authority, housing providers – including BDHT – and other statutory and voluntary agencies to not only take enforcement action against those committing crime and anti-social behaviour but also provide diversion and support for those who may be susceptible so such activity.
“Drugs devastate communities and tackling organised supply is one of the key priorities for police across North Worcestershire.
“Our dedicated County Lines team works closely with counterparts in other forces to proactively target and disrupt the networks that come into our main towns of Bromsgrove, Redditch and Kidderminster to prey on our vulnerable people.”
On the couple who had complained about the lack of local action he added: “I am disappointed to hear they feel dissatisfied with the police’s response to the matters they have reported to us.
“I can reassure them and the wider community that all reports of drug-dealing, intimidation and threatening behaviour are recorded, investigated and taken very seriously.
“An officer has made further contact to discuss the couple’s concerns.”