Brighton and Hove "not ready" for drug rooms says former top cop

Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove "not ready" for drug rooms says former top cop

First published in News

Brighton and Hove is not ready for controversial drug consumption rooms, a former police chief has warned.

Graham Bartlett, who retired from Sussex Police in March last year, said the centres in which medical staff help users inject free from fear of prosecution, would not be viable in the city, but could be an option for the future.

The former chief superintendent spoke to The Argus after a visit to Frankfurt, Germany, for a BBC documentary.

His warning comes as a Brighton and Hove City Council prepares to publish a feasibility study on the use of drug rooms.

He said: “My personal view is that it is not a viable option for Brighton at the minute. Maybe in the future.

“They are necessary for Frankfurt, but things are a lot different over there.

“They need to be seen as part of a wider framework of support to be successful.”

Mr Bartlett, who is now a director at a management company, travelled to the city last month.

He spent time with drugs users, staff and police at one of the four consumption rooms in the city to find out how they work.

He said: “It was based in quite a run-down area and it was very sad. There were a lot of people there who were suffering.

“Unfortunately the centres do attract drug dealers as well and there are issues with crime. But they are incredibly safe for users to take drugs. They get clean needles and conditions, and support if they need it.

“It’s not a nice place to be, it was pretty sad but if they weren’t there they would be out of the streets or in car parks with dirty needles.

“From a health benefits point of view, it’s a far better option.”

The documentary, which was shown last night, explained how the city had been blighted with a drug problem for many years.

Mr Bartlett said: “Users had taken over this municipal park. It was a no-go zone for locals, they were openly injecting so there wasn’t much opposition to the opening of the centres.

It got to a stage where people were prepared for them.

“It still took them 15 years.

“I don’t think it has got to that stage in Brighton and Hove yet.”

He added: “They are certainly no silver bullet. You can’t just have a drug consumption room and expect everything to be better.

“They need to be seen as a way of accessing people who need help.

“But they need to be part of a wider framework of support. As everything is at the moment, they are just not feasible.”

The council-backed feasibility study is due back later this year.

To see the documentary visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer.

Comments (7)

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8:11am Tue 4 Mar 14

still waiting says...

One slight problem, whatever anyone in Brighton & Hove thinks, and that is that it would require a fairly significant change in the law. One does wonder if it would be better for the City Council to concern itself with things like organising a reliable refuse collection rather than in pursuing "initiatives" designed to pander to the recreational demands of a minority.
One slight problem, whatever anyone in Brighton & Hove thinks, and that is that it would require a fairly significant change in the law. One does wonder if it would be better for the City Council to concern itself with things like organising a reliable refuse collection rather than in pursuing "initiatives" designed to pander to the recreational demands of a minority. still waiting
  • Score: 18

10:35am Tue 4 Mar 14

Durango_Splubb says...

Apart from changing laws and rules there needs to be a major shift in official
thinking and attitudes. Instead of seeing everybody involved in drugs as a criminal they need to realise most users of heavy drugs are victims. Their problem is a medical one.
Apart from changing laws and rules there needs to be a major shift in official thinking and attitudes. Instead of seeing everybody involved in drugs as a criminal they need to realise most users of heavy drugs are victims. Their problem is a medical one. Durango_Splubb
  • Score: 7

11:16am Tue 4 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

Durango_Splubb wrote:
Apart from changing laws and rules there needs to be a major shift in official
thinking and attitudes. Instead of seeing everybody involved in drugs as a criminal they need to realise most users of heavy drugs are victims. Their problem is a medical one.
Exactly why we don't want to legalise drug use the problem will get much worse.Since the massive cuts to the police and visable police removed from our streets especially after dark people openly deal and use drugs.Ive worked in the nightlife in brighton people off there face are very unpredictable I would not like to see the law changed as at present we can keep it under control.
[quote][p][bold]Durango_Splubb[/bold] wrote: Apart from changing laws and rules there needs to be a major shift in official thinking and attitudes. Instead of seeing everybody involved in drugs as a criminal they need to realise most users of heavy drugs are victims. Their problem is a medical one.[/p][/quote]Exactly why we don't want to legalise drug use the problem will get much worse.Since the massive cuts to the police and visable police removed from our streets especially after dark people openly deal and use drugs.Ive worked in the nightlife in brighton people off there face are very unpredictable I would not like to see the law changed as at present we can keep it under control. clubrob6
  • Score: 1

11:20am Tue 4 Mar 14

amyquinn says...

brighton and hove council already do to much for drug users it is a crime not a medical problem they are the ones sticking a needle in them selfs no one makes them but the council put them first on the list for housing in there hostals (bht run hostals only house mentaly ill and drug users ) the homeless with no problems are told sorry cant help you . all hostals run by the council let the use of drugs in there as long as there cant see or smell them someone i no got in a hostal and was told he can use class a drugs in his room but not smoke canibis as they will be able to smell it and told to go outside if he wanted to smoke ??????
brighton and hove council already do to much for drug users it is a crime not a medical problem they are the ones sticking a needle in them selfs no one makes them but the council put them first on the list for housing in there hostals (bht run hostals only house mentaly ill and drug users ) the homeless with no problems are told sorry cant help you . all hostals run by the council let the use of drugs in there as long as there cant see or smell them someone i no got in a hostal and was told he can use class a drugs in his room but not smoke canibis as they will be able to smell it and told to go outside if he wanted to smoke ?????? amyquinn
  • Score: -2

11:38am Tue 4 Mar 14

Durango_Splubb says...

clubrob6 says;
"Ive worked in the nightlife in brighton people off there face are very unpredictable I would not like to see the law changed as at present we can keep it under control."

So which one is it, 'very unpredictable' or 'under control'?

Are you sure you are not on something?
clubrob6 says; "Ive worked in the nightlife in brighton people off there face are very unpredictable I would not like to see the law changed as at present we can keep it under control." So which one is it, 'very unpredictable' or 'under control'? Are you sure you are not on something? Durango_Splubb
  • Score: 1

3:18pm Tue 4 Mar 14

ronrostog says...

Don't you just love ex-coppers who suddenly become social workers?Here's a revolutionary new idea, surprised no-one has ever thought of it before and it may just work: Treat illegal drug use as a crime! If you are caught using you should be slung into a secure rehab unit and not allowed out until clean. If you go back to that life then you should be slung in an uncomfy prison and can go cold turkey. I doubt by and large that most Illegal drugs are not wanted in society and the people who do want, sell or take them should be treated like the selfish **** they are. Or they can always **** off to a country where it's legal and, depending what substance they use, either frazzle their brains or overdose there.
Don't you just love ex-coppers who suddenly become social workers?Here's a revolutionary new idea, surprised no-one has ever thought of it before and it may just work: Treat illegal drug use as a crime! If you are caught using you should be slung into a secure rehab unit and not allowed out until clean. If you go back to that life then you should be slung in an uncomfy prison and can go cold turkey. I doubt by and large that most Illegal drugs are not wanted in society and the people who do want, sell or take them should be treated like the selfish **** they are. Or they can always **** off to a country where it's legal and, depending what substance they use, either frazzle their brains or overdose there. ronrostog
  • Score: -2

4:08pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Durango_Splubb says...

Way back in 1964 I used to do the shopping for a wonderful frail 70 year young lady, Mrs Jones. Her husband had been in the army & was killed in Korea She raised her two children, got them through university -almost unheard of in 'Saff Eass' London and retired from working for London Transport. She still had a razor sharp wit & an active mind and followed the news intensely.

Part of the shopping included going to the local chemists for her regular order of hand cream etc., and something referred to as "Nerve Tonic". The chemist would weigh out about two generous handfuls of dried greenishy-grey leaves and tip them into an 8" brown paper bag. Mrs Jones would use a pinch of these leaves to made a weak tea. She sipped this while I'd put her shopping away. When she told me the leaves could be mixed with tobacco and smoked I realised I was being offered cannabis!

Soon after that Harold Wilson's Labour government began a massive new crime industry and costing the tax payer billions every year by making this natural product and great nerve tonic "illegal"!
Way back in 1964 I used to do the shopping for a wonderful frail 70 year young lady, Mrs Jones. Her husband had been in the army & was killed in Korea She raised her two children, got them through university -almost unheard of in 'Saff Eass' London and retired from working for London Transport. She still had a razor sharp wit & an active mind and followed the news intensely. Part of the shopping included going to the local chemists for her regular order of hand cream etc., and something referred to as "Nerve Tonic". The chemist would weigh out about two generous handfuls of dried greenishy-grey leaves and tip them into an 8" brown paper bag. Mrs Jones would use a pinch of these leaves to made a weak tea. She sipped this while I'd put her shopping away. When she told me the leaves could be mixed with tobacco and smoked I realised I was being offered cannabis! Soon after that Harold Wilson's Labour government began a massive new crime industry and costing the tax payer billions every year by making this natural product and great nerve tonic "illegal"! Durango_Splubb
  • Score: 2

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