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Public Meeting: Wed 18 Oct, 6pm

Posted on by Conrad Brunner

Twice in the last week, the Friends Of Queens Park have been contacted by local mothers concerned at the amount of open drug use in the park, particularly in the area of the kids playground.

Some of the details outlined below are quite shocking, raising important issues about drug use in our city. “Lots of parents say they no longer use the park as they feel it is not a safe place for there children to play,” says one local mother.

As a result of this and other complaints, there will be a public meeting on Wednesday 18 October at 6pm, at the tennis pavilion.  Our local Queens Park Councillors Daniel Chapman, Adrian Morris and Karen Barford will attend, as well as the police, community safety team, the Executive Director Neighbourhoods Communities & Housing and possibly a representative from CityClean.

Faye Bridgewater writes: I’m sad to report more drug use in the children’s play park in Queen’s Park on Sunday. Unfortunately it was extremely unpleasant and depressingly it is happening everyday. I went with my children 5 and 7 for a play. When we got there I immediately saw two drug users staggering out of the toilets and called the police who said there was a unit nearby and they would come and take a look (they didn’t). One of them rode off on his bike while the other one could not walk at this point parents helped him to the floor and put him in the recovery position while I called an ambulance. I stayed with the man to make sure he was breathing. I called the police again to explain the man had now collapsed in the children’s play park and I had called an ambulance. Nobody attended. After about 30 minutes the man staggered up and left the park. At that point two MORE drug users then entered the toilets. I called the police again, and left the park to take the children home and answer their questions about the man on the floor.

Surely this is a safeguarding issue for children using the park? There are needles being found everywhere, the toilets are absolutely disgusting and children should not have to witness people totally out of their head, or, god forbid, someone having an overdose. Lots of parents say they no longer use the park as they feel it is not a safe place for there children to play which surely should have the councillors and police to hang their head in shame that it has come to this.

While I appreciate addiction is a terrible and awful disease which needs tackling in an appropriate way, we really need some action from the council/police in the park now.  

Last week, another concerned parent contacted the Friends Of Queens Park, supplying a photo of needles in the bin of the public toilets.  She wrote:  “On Wednesday my daughter found drug paraphernalia: used needles and blood stained tissue in the toilet bin.” She asks if “Queens Park has become a new drug hotspot.” The Friends Of Queens Park shared her comments (and photo) on Facebook, and were surprised to see it receiving over 7,000 views.

See map below showing recent verified needle finds in the park.

Sussex Police advice is: “Anyone finding such items should not handle them but report their location to police or the local authority. Some have protective caps on the needles, but there is always the risk of pricking fingers or thumbs with the consequent risk of infection. If you find a needle or syringe, don’t touch it. Call the environment contact centre on 01273 292929 to report it, or out of hours on (01273) 292229.”

Faye adds: “Sussex Police resolution centre have set up a Drug Intel log for Queens Park so that any information they get from the public can be collated. The neighbourhood policing team have been made aware. If you want this to stop, please keep reporting any heroin related activity by dialing 101, or you can report it online.”

The area around the Tennis Pavilion has also had a problem with drug use. Last summer, children playing in the area in front of the Pavilion found an open bag containing used needs and other items. The above instructions were followed and the mess was cleared up within hours.

We advise people to follow the police advice, and also to take photos of the needles in location. It’s vital to have evidence in order to highlight the problem.

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