Police Update – Illegal Drugs consumption situation in the Merchant City/Trongate area

MCTCC received an email from Sgt Philip Showell of the Glasgow police for our area which was read out at our last Zoom meeting. He wrote, “Drug Users and their actions around misuse in the streets continue to be the biggest cause for complaint for the Merchant City. 

We are providing extra attention to Albion Street, Hutcheson Street (after a recent complaint), Trongate, Virginia Street and Saltmarket. We continue to work with partners and have had some success in removing problematic tenants.

I am keen to provide some reassurance around the issues in the Merchant City, particularly in terms of perception. I believe that a lot of what is being seen is more visible and residents are more aware due to the significant reduction in routine footfall in the area. Whilst most people are within homes/work and following rules, certain sections of the community are not. This is often not a choice. I am very careful to make sure we do not demonise many of those sections of the community who have incredibly challenging and very complex needs and problems. Ultimately, they really need help.

There has been much in the media this week around the drugs problem in Glasgow. I cannot emphasise enough how serious the situation is. I am hopeful that the money that is being committed will improve what is realistically a public health issue as opposed to a criminal justice issue. However, we will continue to liaise with Abbey Chemist and GCC Neighbourhoods and Sustainability at Eastgate.

That being said, I completely understand concerns where residents are having to cope with the fall-out from these issues.

I would continue to encourage residents to contact us via 101 to report matters at the time. Whilst it is unpalatable, we rely on the community to act as witnesses to allow to proceed in a criminal justice sense. Whilst we will do everything we can to help those involved, that does not mean we will turn a blind eye to criminal/anti-social behaviour. We will continue to work with partners in the Council to get areas cleaned, provide crime prevention advice, and target patrols.

I would actively encourage the use of CRIMESTOPPERS as an effective tool to tackle drug dealing and other criminality. There are people in the community who KNOW who are involved but understandably worry about their identity being known.

Lastly, I have new partner, Sgt Heather Lenihan, who is not new to the city centre, but covered other areas and is also available for assistance and advice”.

Crimestoppers:  contact them to report a crime anonymously. They’ll pass the information about the crime to the police. Telephone: 0800 555 111. Contact this website for reporting all crime: https://www.mygov.scot/report-crime/