New drugs needle disposal boxes are being installed in locations across Peterborough to help crackdown on discarded drugs paraphernalia.
Peterborough City Council has been actively working alongside a number of organisations including drugs support group Aspire, Cambridgeshire Police and local campaigners ‘Needless Needles’ as part of a special task group to tackle the issue.
Last year the group was successful in bidding to the Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner for ten boxes, which are designed to encourage people to safely dispose of needles, syringes and other drugs equipment.
The boxes, which are marked with stickers stating 'sharps disposal', have been installed in the following locations based on past data for needle find areas in the city.
Bourges Boulevard underpass near Post Office Close
Broadway Cemetery, two - one at each entrance
North Bank Road/Carr Road Under pass
Asda South Bank near litter bin
Wharf Road Cycle Path next to litter bin
Dickens Street on cycle path by gap to Community Centre
Morris Street on the cycle path (Wellington St End)
Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet holder for communities, said: “Discarded needles are not an uncommon sight in many towns and cities in the UK. So this is not a problem unique to Peterborough, but we want to do everything within our power to protect the health and safety of the public.
“The task group have listened to concerns from residents and partner groups and are confident that the new needle boxes will make a positive difference. We would encourage users to make use of them and ask members of the public to continue to report any finds.”
To help make people aware of how to report needle finds and who they need to contact for this, the task group has also produced new reporting cards which list contact numbers.
The cards are being handed out to venues across the city including community groups, housing associations, doctor's surgeries, sports clubs and police stations.
The idea stems from a similar card produced by Ipswich Borough Council, which has helped raise awareness of discarded needles there. The task group spent time working with the council and paid a visit to Ipswich to see how the issue has been tackled there.
Councillor Walsh added: "Please look out for these cards and make others aware of them. We want to make as many people as possible aware of how to correctly report needle finds."
The task group has also worked with local pharmacies to deliver a needle exchange programme encouraging drug users to return needles and officers have visited 26 primary schools to talk to youngsters about the dangers of playing with discarded needles.
While residents are encouraged to report any needle finds to the council, people should never attempt to pick up any drugs paraphernalia that they find.
Anyone who finds discarded drugs equipment in Peterborough can report it online or by calling 01733 747474.