Drug dealing, graffiti, rowdy and noisy neighbours and vandalism blight communities. When I am talking to Stroud people on the doorstep it is often something that is brought up. Businesses in our towns are often concerned too. Anti-social behaviour can leave people feeling unsafe and unable to protect their own property from damage.
In the Stroud district, we do not have huge problems but that does not mean it doesn’t happen. There are pockets where drugs, verbal abuse, deliberately causing disturbance, damaging property and loud music are problems.
In a more serious incident, a vulnerable Stroud man was killed recently. Local people told me that he was harassed by gangs around his property and while the police were helping him, people were worried. His death shocked our town. We also unfortunately see cars and homes broken into by drug users and graffiti along the Cotswold Canal.
Action locally has consisted of an increased police presence on the ground in areas of disturbance. CCTV is being put in place along the canal. I continue to work with our local police to identify problems as they come to my attention.
To help officers and councils and other authorities tackle these types of crimes and incidents, the government has made these issues a focus. Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” will also be banned as this is becoming an increasing problem with parks littered with the canisters.
The punishment for those who graffiti, litter or fly tip will be increased with fines of up to £500 and £1,000. Landlords and housing associations will be given more powers to evict unruly tenants who ruin their neighbours’ lives. It will be made an offence for criminal gangs to organise begging networks for extra cash. This scam raises money for illegal activities. The police will be given more powers to test for drugs on arrest and for a wider range of substances.