RESIDENTS FORUM – 30 October 2014
Ollie Manco (OM) – Local Councillor
PC Mark Corrigan (MC) – GMP Area Beat Manager
Sergeant Mc Ritchie (SM) – GMP
Breige Cobane (BC) – Locality Manager Manchester City Council
Lisa Thornton (LT) – ADS Solutions
Marissa Farrell (MF) - ADS Solutions
Richard Long (RL) - FOAM
Emma Krijnen-Kemp (EKK) - FOAM
Liz Long (LL) - FOAM
Ruth Guest (RG) – Angel Meadow Neighbourhood page
Louis Mulcaster (LM) – Angel Meadow Neighbourhood page
Alice Toomer (AT) – Ancoats Community Organiser
Tracy Townsend (TT) – Governor King of Kings School
+ around 25 Angel Meadow Residents
DRUG TAKING/DEALING IN THE AREA
MC introduced himself and his Sergeant. His remit covers Ancoats and Miles Platting as well as the Angel Meadow area. He is responsible for 4 PCSOs that operate in the area.
MC said that it is drug users that bring the dealers to the area and not the other way round. Users phone their dealers who arrange to meet them in the area. This is a problem for all peripheral areas of the city centre and not unique to Angel Meadow. Users will buy one “hit” at a time and once they have shot up the police can’t arrest them as they are no longer in possession. Therefore once the drugs are purchased they will want to take them as soon as possible.
Residents reported that the dealers seem to keep regular times and that a certain car has been reported many times by many residents. MC said the car has been stopped but no drugs found.
SM said that the police have to juggle many priorities and won’t always be able to come out to every report of drug dealing. Residents should call 101 when they see drug dealing as then it will be logged as a crime and therefore more resources allocated to the area. In the past people have been emailing the PSCOs which may not be logged in crime records.
Residents of the Citadel building reported someone is dealing from inside the building and users are being let into the building by someone for this purpose. MC was unaware of this issue and asked for residents to provide descriptions of individuals concerned and which flat they operate out of.
LT introduced herself and MF from ADS Solutions. ADS are a charity that has been commissioned by Public Health Manchester to work with drug users. ADS run the local needle exchange based on Oldham Street.
Per LT the use of heroin and crack cocaine is falling but is being replaced by the use of legal highs – some of which are now being taken intravenously. ADS work with the police with anyone who tests positive for Class A drugs and are mandated treatment. 1000 people have entered treatment programmes via these criminal justice interventions with varying degrees of success. Manchester as a city is performing well with people who enter into treatment. However, some of the users around Angel Meadow are older, entrenched users who can be difficult to reach.
Needle exchanges were opened in Manchester in the 1980s as a response to AIDS. Users are told that as part of programme it is their responsibility to bring the needles back. Of the 120,000 needles that went out last year around 68% are returned – still leaving 38,000 out there!
5 different coloured needles were introduced 3 years ago to stop users sharing the same needle. Different needles are provided depending on where user is injecting and the state of their veins.
Residents expressed concern about the use of pink needles that are very attractive to young girls in particular. TT as Governor of the local school had witnessed pupils being attracted to pink needles first hand. School teachers regularly have to remove needles from areas where the children play.
LT said she can’t change the colour of the needles but residents could report concerns to the Trustees of ADS. LL to contact ADS for details of how to raise these concerns.
BC said that if needles are reported the Neighbourhood teams have 24 hours to remove them. EKK said she had reported needles by the side of the road outside Angel Meadow Apartments and they were still there 2 weeks later until FOAM removed them. BC advised reporting needles via the MCC online FAST forms as this is the quickest way things will get dealt with - https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/forms/form/653/en/removal_of_needles_and_syringes. However, RG said she has used these forms does not always get a response and it is difficult to follow up.
LL said FOAM had been refused money for sharps boxes as part of Clean City Grant and had purchases one from a chemist on Swan Street. MF said ADS would provide sharps boxes to the School and FOAM and would dispose of the needles once full.
MF and MC do outreach in the park with users. They have placed 1 sharps box for users near to the garages but have had feedback from residents that they don’t like to see sharps boxes lying around the area.
BC wondered if ASBOs could be used against certain people who are known to cause problems in the area. We would need to build a case against someone but once an ASBO issued users could be banned from the area and arrested if they breach the ban. She said she would look into it.
Some residents expressed concern for the drug users and though we needed to keep them in mind. They suggested that users be given a space where they can inject legally. OM said that Brighton council tried to introduce this but it was rejected.
BURGLARY AND VEHICLE CRIME
RG reported that burglaries seem to have fallen in the Linx building. She thinks this may be due to residents working with the management company to strengthen internal security.
MC said that a known and prolific burglar has been arrested and is currently behind bars which he believes has led to a fall in this type of crime in the area.
MC said the police have started a process of visiting each building advising on security. LL to find out further details.
MC said the police have also approached the management companies of certain buildings to advise on security issues but have no way of forcing private owners to implement these. Residents need to raise these issues with their management companies.
EKK said the management company of Angel Meadow Apartments have installed roller shutters in the garage area following someone setting fire to a mattress in that area over the summer. Some of the homeless had been sleeping in this area. However, MC said he had been told by residents that is was a fellow resident that set fire to the mattress not the rough sleepers.
Residents asked OM to pass these issues onto the MCC Planning Committee so they are aware of the problems that poor design can cause in terms of security.
RG said that as part of the New Mount Street Planning Application the area is listed as one of the worse for crime. MC and SM said this was not correct and unclear where those numbers came from. GMP statistics show Angel Meadow as relatively low for crime.
MC discussed a project that had been successful in Stockport where residents had been trained as Guardian Angels. This involved police training and funding for resident volunteers to patrol a local area in high visibility jackets. They would then report issues to police contacts. MC to provide further details.
RG asked MC for details of how to set up NeighhoodWatch schemes.
Residents expressed concern about the level of litter. TT said Dantzic Street in particular was very bad. FOAM, Moodswings and King of Kings Schools all do regular litter picks.
Park users will often pile rubbish next to the bins as they are full. As they are not emptied regularly the wind then blows the rubbish around the estate. In the summer months the bins need to be emptied on a Friday and Monday due to high usage of the park.
With the NOMA development many more people are coming to the area and using the park and car parks but there seems to be no strategy to deal with this extra footfall.
BC said she would check the street cleaning contract but there is a programmed cleansing program.
BC said that if any group is doing a litter pick then they should inform her so she can arrange a needles sweep beforehand.
Some residents said that the Total carparks (leased to them by The Co-op) are full of litter. BC said she will challenge Total to clean these up if reported to MCC.
Residents expressed concern that the estate is being used for rat-running. This is particularly disappointing given that residents had highlighted this and other problems as part of the consultation on the ring road.
RG said that taxi’s would not drop her off in the estate at night due to the complicated road system.
Residents said that single yellow lines mean that it is very tight entering certain buildings and asked how we go about getting double yellow lines.
OM said he would find the right person in the Highways Team to raise issues with.
NOISE INSULATION SCHEME
Residents expressed their anger that 2 years on from the road being built, no compensation has yet been paid to those eligible. Noise insulation was supposed to be in place BEFORE the road opened.
OM said compensation and the noise insulation scheme were two different schemes. He will look into the current status.
RG asked who we should go to if these issues are not resolved by MCC and OM said we should approach Lucy Powell MP.
LL thanked OM, MC, SM, BC, LT and LF for attending. MC said it was encouraging to see such a high attendance level from residents.
OM suggested quarterly meetings going forward with different invitees as appropriate.