Welcome to the neighbourhood. At some stage of
life in Nottingham, most of us will call that boulevard stretch
of Radford, Lenton and its environs home.
However, it is quite unsettling to think that hand in hand surrounding
the cosy trinity of kebab shops, pubs and Jackson's is an area riddled
with crime. So much so that rumour has it Lenton boasts a cash point
with the most muggings in the country. Surely this should cause
When we spoke to a member of the Nottingham constabulary and ventured
that urban myth might exaggerate the level of crime in Lenton and
Radford, she replied, "It isn't exaggerated. We have big problems.
When 20,000 youngsters move from nice areas to a big city for the
first time, there is naivety - not locking all doors and windows,
for example - and unfortunately a minority of our residents exploit
that. We're doing what we can, but students must play their part
No doubt recent arrivals will have had Nottingham plugged as a centre
of nightlife and all round entertainment until their ears are red
raw and can take it no longer.
However, Nottingham also plays host to another, darker side. Since
the late 90s it has been one of only three areas where armed police
stroll the beat. Class A drug prices are said to be the cheapest
in the country on the streets of Nottingham, and gun crime has spiralled
out of control.
Impact has taken a look at some of the less talked of facets of
life in Nottingham, why they are becoming such a huge problem, and
what the authorities are doing to remedy the situation.
Here we look at teenage pregnancy,
drug related crime, date
rape and some possible remedies
to the problems facing Nottingham.
Teenage Pregnancy in Nottingham
Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies
in Western Europe; tell me something I don't know we hear you say;
well did you know that Nottingham has the 14th highest rate of teenage
conceptions in the UK? Surprising isn't it? According to Nottinghamshire's
Health Improvement Plan conducted in 2002, the number of pregnant
teens in the city was twice the national average, between 1997 and
Nottingham has further hit the headlines with a 13-year-old mother
calling for sex education to be given younger. It clearly came to
late for her, as she was impregnated whilst receiving a course in
sex education. She gave birth to an eight-pound baby at the QMC
in September. The mother-daughter age difference is similar to that
But why should you and I care? Apart from the risks to the mother
and baby, such as higher infant mortality and poor antenatal health
there are usually consequences for the community as a whole. Teenage
parents often lack the time or money to complete their education
and find adequate employment. This subsequently creates social exclusion
where more and more children are being brought up in poverty, a
regular factor in cases of teenage pregnancy. A vicious cycle develops
thus perpetuating the problem further.
In true Labour style, the government has targeted Nottingham as
an area in desperate need of education, education, education - sex
education that is! Local schemes such as KISS (Knowledge and Information
on Sexual Health and Sexuality) and Club One aim to reduce the worryingly
high rate of teenage pregnancy by offering an accessible and less
intimidating service for young people. As a result Nottingham authorities
have outlined a plan of action for the next seven years; with the
intention of a 15% reduction in unwanted conceptions in under 16
year olds by 2004, and a further 50% reduction in 2010.
Encouragingly, although teenage pregnancy remains a problem for
the city, recent findings show that the number of conceptions is
actually falling. The focus now should be the continuation of this
trend, as well as the further development of places such as Beckhampton
Centre, a special unit designed to educate young mums to be and
those who already have children.
Drug related crime in Nottingham
All dealings with cannabis aside, Nottingham
is experimenting with drugs on a level that would shock even your
most ardent Trainspotting fan.
Despite optimistic claims by the city council
that the drugs problem is becoming more managed, most Drugs Centres
are now admitting to a definite rise in recreational and experimental
drugs use across the county. This is all the more alarming, when
you consider that one baby per month in the city of Nottingham is
born already addicted to heroin.
In a county with an estimated population
of one million, Nottinghamshire police estimate that there are 6,000
crack cocaine and heroin addicts: that is the equivalent to 150
heroin and crack addicts within the university population.
Further, it is no secret that drug problems
lead to a whole host of further criminal activity. It has been suggested,
again by the police force, that heroin users will commit crimes
valued at roughly £45,000 per year, which, with a little elementary
maths, equates to £6 million worth in Nottingham alone.
Maybe its no wonder then, that rumours are
flying amongst Nottingham's drug help-centres of a crack explosion:
a fact that the government has reluctantly admitted, by identifying
Nottingham as one of the crack hotspots in the UK.
So what's going to happen to Nottingham's
6,000 addicts? Will they take Renton's advice? Choose a future.
Choose life... but as he said why would I want to do a thing like
Case Study - The Meadows
The Meadows is synonymous with the darker
side of Nottingham. One of only three places where there are routine
armed police patrols, the area has a reputation for guns, violent
crime and drugs. Most students only venture left of the station
for one of the infamous Karni booze cruises, but Impact braved the
In theory, an area close to the city centre,
the train station, and convenient for top class cricket and football
should be an asset to the city. Instead the bleak and dated housing-estate
with its many alleyways and secluded spots creates a haven for criminals.
Earlier this year the local Dyer family and
their neighbours were arrested in possession of £250,000 worth
of drugs, and the guns to match. The judge berated the group for
causing misery in the Meadows and sentenced them to a total of more
than 75 years. Although Impact does not want to imply that the area
is entirely populated by drugs and gun barons, the simple fact is
that even the local police are unwilling to refute the area's reputation.
One local police officer admitted that an awful lot of shootings
do occur in the area, and that the figures are currently increasing.
But the shootings themselves do not tell
the whole story. Nottingham's location on the drug route between
London and Manchester has led to a significant number of drug-related
gang shootings in the Meadows area. In a court case this time last
year a judge warned that gangs were taking over the Nottingham streets.
Official sources are usually keen to deny that Nottingham is part
of a wider national trafficking problem. According to our police
source, however, it is not unreasonable to see a link between the
problems in Nottingham and those that plague North-west London and
With such nation-wide links, it seems that
drug and gun crime is here to stay in the Meadows.
Last year, Nottingham provided 450 of the 1300* (a figure which
has increased dramatically each year) cases of date rape committed
across the country. *Statistics supplied by the Roofie Foundation.
Please note - since this article was originally
published these figures have changed. For up to date statistics
check out the Roofie
Foundation website. (April 2005)
That Nottingham is a centre for many of the country's most desperate
problems is no longer in any doubt. But, as anyone who took a jaunty
trip down to the Goose Fair on the weekend will testify, the Nottinghamshire
police and County Council are working hard to reverse the downward
trend that at present seems so unstoppable.
Once hailed as a Mecca for thugs, gangs and
pickpockets, the sheer volume of officials policing the fair would
have been enough to chill Fagin's boots and make even the most hardened
knife wielder think twice.
The Nottinghamshire Police Force certainly
do seem to have their priorities right, having introduced a visibility
scheme to ensure a greater police presence around the trouble spots
of Nottingham (Lenton being one of them). Indeed, a friend recounted
that the other day that on going into her hall, she was confronted
by a rather imposing 6-foot policeman claiming the front door was
wide open. He then proceeded to invite himself for a cup of tea.
A detailed description of the visibility scheme later, she was content
in the knowledge that someone is working on the side of law and
Yet still all is not well, as there have been renewed calls for
a greater police presence in the wake of the murder of Marion Bates
in Arnold on 30th September.
Those of you with your eyes open around the
centre of town may also have noticed the Rat on a Rat posters gracing
buses, billboards and poster spaces alike. These mark the single
biggest Crimestoppers campaign Nottinghamshire has ever seen in
an attempt to curb the skyrocketing drugs problem currently facing
the city. Children, parents and former addicts are all being encouraged
to rat out any dealer that might be causing trouble to them or their
friends. Given that county-wide the cost of drugs-related problems
totals upward of £100 million, authorities are crying out
for any help they can get.
Overall, the Constabulary is positive that
crime in Nottingham can be overcome but no one is denying that a
long and testing road lies ahead.
Statistics taken from: BBC Nottingham, Crimestoppers,
The Roofie Foundation, Nottingham Constabulary.
Dandeniya - Katie Skinner - Abbi Buxon
- Robert Norgrove - Rowena Ronni Lodge - Owen Amos - Sally Hartfield
- Sarah Knock
What do you think about "the dary side of Nottingham?" Does this student view reflect what's really going on in the city. Let us know.