Ian Bevis-Mott is a PCSO working in Bedford who has been in his role for just over eight years. On today’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June), he gives an insight into what it’s like to close down a drug den in Bedfordshire.
In 2014 new legislation was introduced which gives the police wider powers to help tackle anti-social behaviour. With the support of my team, I have been able to put these powers to good use.
I had received several complaints of anti-social behaviour from residents and businesses with concerns about a particular house being abused by drug users.
I had had many dealings at the location with occupants of the address and always made it part of my daily patrols.
I gathered evidence about the property by speaking to residents and businesses, and along with my colleagues from my Community Policing team, Special Constabulary, Central Tasking team, Dog Unit and the Anti-social Behaviour team at Bedford Borough Council, executed a drug warrant.
I remained outside of the property, at the rear of the address to help ensure all bases were covered.
With these sorts of warrants comes concern about what could be waiting on the other side of the door.
I questioned who might be there? What might their reactions might be to the police coming in to their home, their den?
I had concerns for the other officers attending – would they be alright? All of these aspects are considered when executing a warrant at this type of location, and current intelligence about the address is thoroughly researched.
Inside this particular house, the evidence of drug use and other criminality such as theft offences was overwhelming.
Drug paraphernalia including foil and crack pipes were strewn around, along with foil lined shopping bags. The house was in a messy state with a very strong unpleasant smell.
As well as the impact on neighbours, I was also struck by how damaging drugs are for those who take them. I have witnessed just one tiny aspect of the affect drugs can have on your life and that of others, and would discourage anyone from ever going down that road.
My team were able to close the crack house initially for 24 hours to prevent further activity. We were then successful at Luton Magistrates Court in obtaining a three month-long closure order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policing Act 2014.
I was really pleased with this result, as the address has been an issue for residents in the street for some time.
I was determined to do something to resolve this problem and improve the quality of life for both the residents and businesses located in the area.
I have since spoken to a number of residents who are delighted with the result. Our actions go to show that we do not tolerate anti-social behaviour and protecting our communities is at the forefront of all our work.
To report anti-social behaviour or concerns about drug-taking in your neighbourhood, call police on 101.
If you or someone you know would like help and advice about drugs, visit government website talktofrank.com or call 0300 123 6600.