Hangover Square! Residents plead for help cleaning up one of Brighton and Hove’s drink and drugs hotspots

Posted On 20 Oct 2016 at 9:23 pm

Residents have pleaded for help cleaning up one of Brighton and Hove’s drink and drugs hotspots after complaining that anti-social behaviour was making it a “no go” area.

They spoke about “a steep upsurge in levels of street drinking, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and drug crime which are adversely affecting and compromising their quality of life”.

In a deputation to Brighton and Hove City Council they said: “Many now describe Norfolk Square as a ‘no go’ area due to the large and intimidating groups of street drinkers who gather there, drunken yobs, fighting, smashing of bottles, drug-taking and drug litter and indecent exposure by those using it as a latrine – things that are a daily occurrence.

“Clarence Square has documented the same problems.

“One Cross Street resident came out of her house with her young daughter at 10am one morning to find three people injecting on her doorstep.

“Dealing and drug litter – needles, spoons – are regularly seen in Brunswick Road and Waterloo Street’s community gardens, with one resident finding needles so regularly that he has been practising how to pick them up safely.

“Brunswick Square and Palmeira Square had problems this summer with tented communities and the associated anti-social behaviour that those brought with them.

Hove Town Hall 3
“There is a clear and well-evidenced relationship between alcohol consumption and anti-social behaviour and crime.

“There is also a clear evidenced relationship between alcohol availability and consumption.

“We want the council to play its part in helping communities in the centre of town address some of the underlying problems behind what we are experiencing.”

The Brunswick Town residents brought a deputation to Hove Town Hall this afternoon with one of them, Sir Ron de Witt, addressing a meeting of the full council.

He urged councillors and officials to take a firmer stance with drink-related anti-social behaviour and use licensing rules to regulate the problem.

Sir Ron said: “The Co-op in Western Road has expressed in much the same terms as many residents their frustration with the lack of a visible police presence and the general feeling that our area is suffering an increase in anti-social behaviour and is at the receiving end of drug and drink abuse.

“The store manager has shared with our local councillor, Phélim Mac Cafferty, photos and footage of people stealing alcohol from the Co-op who then drink it on the streets.

“In September the Co-op recorded 21 incidents and in August, 19.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

“Look at the vandalism, the graffiti. Talk to business owners in Western Road about how many times they have had their windows smashed. The signs of abuse are written all over the area.

“This is not by any means all attributable to street drinkers. Much of it is yobbish behaviour by late-night drunks.

“And let’s not forget that earlier this year there was a death when a young man was killed under a truck outside the Temple Inn in Western Road.”

He quoted the woman who chairs Brunswick Square and Terrace, who said that an incident she saw in the Co-op “would have been almost funny had the man not been so off his head, violent and angry.

She said: “It’s seriously beginning to feel unsafe being out on Western Road.”

Sir Ron said: “There was a disappointing article in the press recently saying the police can’t investigate every incident.

“Our experience is that it is unusual to even see the police. If they appear at all when contacted, it is often much later and even then they don’t come out of their vehicles.

Councillor Emma Daniel

Councillor Emma Daniel

“Richard, a Brunswick Road resident, has shared his experience of seeing a man injecting in the community garden and then throwing chairs.

“He called 999 and was told no one would be attending as the nearest available car was in Rottingdean.

“Amy, co-chair of East Brunswick Residents’ Association dialled 999 to report a familiar drug dealer in action to be told that no response would be provided and that whoever had said to dial 999 for drug dealing, ‘shouldn’t have told you that’.

“Amy passed this man numerous more times on consecutive days as he appeared to have made the area around the Co-op his patch.

“Residents are frustrated and weary when it comes to reporting.

“John says, ‘In calling the police the other night, after a 30-minute wait I told the person taking the call that there will eventually be a confrontation between a resident and someone making a pain of themselves and it may not end well.’

“Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne has recently been quoted as saying the frontline for neighbourhood policing is ‘moving off the street and into our front rooms’.

Katy Bourne

Katy Bourne

“PCSOs offered reassurance to communities by building up a rapport and being a visible link between the police and public.

“Reducing the number of PCSOs means we have lost this link and this is having a devastating effect in our area where we are witnessing an increase in incidents.

“A paper to the (Monday) 10 October Neighbourhoods Communities and Equalities Committee states that total police recorded crime in 2015-16 increased by 4.5 per cent compared to 2014-15 and has continued to rise with an increase of 11.8 per cent in the first four months of 2016-17 compared with the same months in 2015-16.

“Police recorded violent crime has continued to rise in the first four months of 2016-17.

“We are aware this is a transitional period with respect to police organisation but, with funding for public services being slowly withdrawn, what are the council and politicians doing to ensure that we have adequate resource to manage and respond to the alcohol-related anti-social behaviour we are seeing?”

Councillor Emma Daniel, who chairs the council’s Neighbourhoods Communities and Equalities Committee, said: “We are not the decision-maker when it comes to PCSOs.

“People should still call 999 or 101 as appropriate – I’ve spent over 45 minutes waiting for a response at times.”

The council had extended the “cumulative impact area”, where there were restrictions on new drinks licences, in 2011.

She said: “We have the largest cumulative impact zone in the country.”

And the council had persuaded every outlet in the area voluntarily to forgo sale of super-strength lager and cider – except Sainsbury’s in Western Road.

After the deputation one resident described Norfolk Square as “Hangover Square” – while Councillor Daniel said: “Their primary issue is policing and I agree that cutting PCSOs is a mistake. Prevention is always better than cure – and more cost-effective.”

She said that it would be better if there were enough PCSOs to police low-level anti-social behaviour but that numbers had been reduced. And some of the PCSO posts were vacant.

She also expressed a concern that Sussex Police might drop its target for the time taken to answer 101 calls and was worried that people were already giving up when it took too long.

  1. David Reply

    James st just the same
    24/7 issues with drug takers, dealers, beggars and street drinker, everywhere stinks of crap and pee!
    Used needles everywhere!
    I call 101 3/4 times a day and wait ages for a reply and even longer for the issue to be dealt with
    Brighton used to be so lovely, now it’s a shithole!

  2. Jon Reply

    So glad I moved out of Brighton!

  3. Halinka Tyszko Reply

    I live next to Norfolk Square. BN1 2PB, Brighton.
    My local park has been taken over by drunks who are aggressive and violent.
    They fight and threaten passers-by with violence
    They have assaulted and attacked residents.
    They scream abuse and frighten the locals.
    They constantly expose their genitals to young girls and women while urinating anywhere they like. They also defecate anywhere causing a vile stench of human excrement.

    Because of the shouting and fighting in the park throughout the night, hard working, tax paying residents of the square are unable to sleep.
    As residents on the square, we have attempted to reclaim this park through volunteer gardening and cleaning.
    But it is really hard, due to the jeering and insults from the drunks. At the last volunteer gardening and cleaning event, we collected 7 bags of beer cans, bottles and used syringes.

    The residents have become scared of this area.

    Please help us. We want this park to be a safe space where children can play and the residents and public can relax without feeling threatened.

    • josephine staunton Reply

      Well done for your hard work. What do think about Card transactions only for Tobacco and Alcohol.!!!

      • Guy Cope Reply

        That’s a great idea!! Such a move would surely have an immediate impact on this terrible blight affecting so many people.

        It would also negate any need for police involvement.

  4. Mark Reply

    All a bit of a hell hole. We pay high house prices and then are faced with the poor injecting, vomiting on the streets, mugging people, fighting. If they can’t afford to go into a pub they should move out of the area, not sit in our parks that we pay to keep.

  5. Louise Reply

    What about New Road? I hate walking down this road with my children. I am fed up with the swearing, litter and general drunken behaviour I see every time I walk along New Road.

  6. josephine staunton Reply

    Card transactions for tobacco and alcohol.We must do something. If I start a petition is there any one out there who would be willing to help me.

    • Guy Cope Reply

      I’m in for sure.

  7. Robert Sandrine Reply

    Brighton’s problem is a pathetically run Council.Greens loved the great unwashed and labour luvvies clueless and too PCs.You need a strong Tory council who will sort out the mess and make Brighton a great place again .

    • John Reply

      Its the tories that made this mess ,by cutting all the public services/housing benefits/homeless hostels and police budgets. Not sure how you feel having the tories in power is helping.

  8. John Wilson Reply

    Get rid of the lot of them.Ban them from Brighton.Clean up our city.Problem is our Council are too soft and too PC .Look after the majority of your TAX PAYING residents.!! Clean up the place !

  9. Sarah Hitchcock-hulme Reply

    I live on london rd with my 2 year old daughter, the drug and alcohol problem is totally out of controll..
    Yesterday playing with my daughter at the level playground a dirty needle was found! Luckily by a parent! Something needs to be done as the police force are sadly failing. Im apolled abd discussed that children are being in dangered. I dont no where to turn to try and do something about this horrendous issue

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