New project to tackle drug addiction in Kettering

It's hoped it will see crime drop and reduce the strain on the NHS

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 1:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 1:24 pm
Drugs file pic

"Drug addiction, supply and demand is not something we can arrest our way out of."

That's the view of Northamptonshire Police's lead for tackling serious organised crime after the launch of a new project to tackle the harm caused by drug addiction in Kettering. Earlier this year residents in the Mill Road area shared their fears over open drug dealing.

The intelligence-led scheme, called #Citadel, aims to use a holistic approach to help solve class A drug addiction as well as associated issues like crime and anti-social behaviour.

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Kettering's problems with drug dealing are well-documented and last year it was revealed the town was swamped by an astonishing 16 county lines. One was dismantled in a huge operation and though officers keep taking drugs and suspects off the streets, the demand is still there.

The new project will identify the most vulnerable people in the town with drug or alcohol addictions and possibly mental health problems too in order to tailor help and support with council groups and NHS organisations playing a part. The project will also gather data for an in-depth understanding of the drugs market meaning help, support or enforcement activity can be concentrated on the areas which need them most.

Detective Superintendent Lee McBride said: “This is an exciting new project which I hope will be really positive for Kettering. We want to work together to get to the root-cause of drug addiction and then respond quickly and efficiently to address it – hence the public health approach because drug addiction, supply and demand is not something we can arrest our way out of.

“People will undoubtedly ask, why Kettering? The reason it was chosen is because it’s a market town with good travel infrastructure and when we conducted a number of locality reviews we felt it is an area which would really benefit from this whole-system approach. All the partners involved expressed a real desire to take part in the project because of the anticipated positive impact it would have on their communities and the exponential benefit for the whole town.

“In essence, this is a whole-system approach which will be responsive so we are able to focus help and support in the areas which need it most. If this project is as successful as we hope it will be, we will roll it out to other areas, in fact partners in towns in the west of the county have already expressed an interest.

“Finally, we need the people of Kettering to join us in ensuring the success of the project by sharing information about anybody they know with drugs-related vulnerabilities, by calling us on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. I’d like to build on and harness the generosity of spirit displayed by our communities during the Covid-19 pandemic and the desire shown to support those within our communities who need help.”

All partners involved will work together to share information and offer targeted support meaning that in the longer term, there will be reduced pressure and demand on social services, the NHS and public health. Likely benefits also include reduced crime, a decrease in anti-social behaviour and street begging and increased wellbeing.

If successful this new way of working will be rolled out to other towns across Northamptonshire.

Police will be hosting a special, one-off Facebook live event on July 9 at 4.30pm with an expert panel on-hand to answer questions about the project.

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