I have called on Home Office Ministers to support work being done to tackle antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
I a letter to them, I have set out some of the work I have been involved in in Wrexham, working alongside the council, the police, and others to tackle issues in the town, particularly relating to Novel Psychoactive Substances or so-called ‘legal highs.’
The letter states: “In Wrexham, particularly since the General Election, I have been working intensively with local council, police and health services to address an acute NPS challenge in the town and we have, collectively, developed an approach which we believe may be useful as a model for other areas of the country with similar issues.
“We are, however, encountering a severe strain on resources.
“We would all welcome the opportunity to present to you the approach we have taken, the preliminary results and discuss how we can both sustain the work and, potentially, use the project as a pilot for other communities.”
Some of the work being done in Wrexham has already received financial backing -; with funds being allocated to help homeless people by the late Carl Sargeant as Communities Minister in the Welsh Government during the summer. Following pressure from me, the council have also increased the number of people working on community safety issues in the town centre, with two additional members of staff being taken on.
I know that people remain concerned about anti-social behaviour in Wrexham, but the combined approach which is now being taken is starting to have an impact. This is a complicated issue, and not one which will be solved overnight.
One of the areas where I think we can move things forward is by sharing the work we are doing locally with other areas who are facing similar issues, and listening to the action people are taking in those areas.
In Parliament, I have worked with several colleagues including Lucy Powell and David Hanson to set up a group looking at the issue of NPS. That group will be holding an inquiry in the New Year, and I’ll make sure Wrexham’s voice is heard.
We also need Ministers to listen, and to provide proper financial support, and that’s why I’m making a plea to the Home Office to come and see what’s being done in Wrexham.