Wales

Wrexham MP's concern at demise of 'Spice Town' taskforce

Spice drug Image copyright EPA
Image caption Wrexham was dubbed "Spice Town" in 2017 because of the number of people using the synthetic drug

An MP fears that work to combat anti-social behaviour by drug users will suffer after a special taskforce to tackle the problem was disbanded.

Wrexham was dubbed "Spice Town" in 2017 when images emerged of people in a zombie-like state from synthetic drugs.

A "gold" group of police, health and other officials set up as an emergency response was disbanded in April.

MP Ian Lucas praised their "positive work" but a council boss said the group was never meant to be permanent.

The work of the gold group included the creation of a community care hub to allow people to quickly access support for housing and rehabilitation, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It sped up the process by profiling 90 people known to be involved in drug use in Wrexham and focused on helping the 20 most vulnerable.

Responsibility for the service has now passed to the Wrexham Community Safety Partnership (CSP), which includes some but not all of the gold group members.

Mr Lucas, a member of the gold group as MP for Wrexham, did not think the partnership would be as effective, claiming it had failed to identify the problem in the first place.

In a letter to Wrexham council's deputy leader Hugh Jones, the MP said it was his request for an emergency response which had led to the gld group's creation.

He said its "positive work" had "depended upon increased engagement with service users, something that seems a very low priority for the CSP".

The MP claimed the partnership "also has a poor record, in my experience, of engaging with elected representatives".

He noted that the CSP did not include himself as the local MP, the local Welsh Assembly member, or even the community care hub.

In response, Mr Jones said: "It is always expected that such groups have a short-term lifespan to address issues directly, with the work on longer-term issues to be carried forward by other partners."

He promised the MP would "continue to be briefed on these matters as they progress".

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