Drug misuse and antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool come under spotlight

Antisocial behaviour and the impact of drug abuse in Hartlepool are to come under the spotlight.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 10:42 am
Picture by PA

Drug misuse has been cited as a key driver behind crime in the town, and councillors have chosen to investigate the issue, as well as antisocial behaviour, as part of a study this year.

Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee selected the topics as part of its work programme for 2019/20.

In the past it has focused on issues including mental health issues and maternity services in Hartlepool, which were both subjects of much debate in 2018/19.

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Coun Ged Hall, chair of the audit and governance committee, praised the work of the committee in recent years, and said he hopes the work on antisocial behaviour will prove beneficial to the town.

Speaking after the latest meeting, he said: “In recent years the committee has focused on health matters, particularly hospital services, maternity and mental health.

“I asked for an update on maternity services because that was an excellent piece of work.

“However, residents and councillors are looking for the remit of this committee in the areas of crime and disorder and scoping of this enquiry .

He added: “I think this would be a topical and fruitful enquiry.”

It comes after Rachel Parker, community safety team leader, said at the latest Safer Hartlepool Partnership meeting substance misuse was a big factor behind crime in the area, with the team looking to commission new services about drug and alcohol treatment targeting prevention.

Recent statistics stated there had been 237 more incidents of recorded crime in the town from January to March 2019 compared to the same time last year, a rise of 8.7%.

The committee will also be carrying out work continuing to scrutinise several health issues in Hartlepool which have been subject to rolling scrutiny programmes in recent years.

These include drug rehabilitation, diet nutrition and diabetes, and healthy eating/obesity, which council health bosses recently adopted a new approach to help tackle.

The committee will now set up a work programme in regards to the latest topics, providing updates throughout the year.