Brighton police chief pledges to take action on drugs

Chief Insp Rachel Swinney
Chief Insp Rachel Swinney

The new chief inspector for Brighton and Hove has said she will tackle the concerns of the community around drugs in the city.

This comes after 'serious concerns' were raised by police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne about drug dealing and drug use in the St James’s Street area.

Chief Insp Rachel Swinney, who is in charge of prevention and operation for the division, said:"The first thing I want to say is that the issues and concerns that have been highlighted are really important to me as the local district commander.

"I am absolutely committed to working with residents and businesses in the St James' Street area of the city.

"We are working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council to address some of issues – particularly around begging and the street community – and I think it’s important to recognise that we are dealing often with individuals who can be vulnerable, who often have complex and multiple needs and we need to ensure that any police enforcement activity is supported by provision from a range of other services.

"Our local prevention teams have been active in this area with focused patrols and I am making there is dedicated team of officers who specifically have the responsibility of working with residents and are available to sit down with them and listen their concerns. I will be personally meeting with local residents and businesses to ensure that we maintain that close level of working and understanding.

"We will continue to work with our partners, the city council, drug and alcohol and homeless support agencies - to look at the best solutions to the issues. It is vitally important that we provide a proportionate service to the residents of Brighton and Hove and we will take every opportunity to ensure that we have that visible presence where it’s needed.

"We will be taking a robust approach to criminal activity. Aggressive begging and overt drug dealing will not be tolerated. But I also want to emphasis the importance of working with our partners to ensure that we are looking to longer term solutions."

Anyone who sees drug taking and anti-social behaviour in the area should contact police on ring 101. If it is a crime in action or an emergency dial 999.