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Monday, February 26, 2024
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HomeNewsMenace of the druggies’ canvas cities

Menace of the druggies’ canvas cities

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THE Home Secretary’s proposals to restrict the use of tents for rough sleepers within cities and fine the charities that provide the tents have been condemned as ‘heartless’ and ‘disgraceful’. 

Defending her ‘hardline’ stance Suella Braverman tweeted: ‘The British people are compassionate. We will always support those who are genuinely homeless. But we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on the streets as a lifestyle choice.’ She said such people are causing nuisance and distress.

She added that unless action is taken, the UK will follow cities in the US such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, where ‘weak policies have led to an explosion of crime, drug taking and squalor’. 

She has a point.

The urban decay and squalor she describes is, as she says, strongly associated with drug use and addiction. Readers may be unaware of exactly what she is describing. She mentions San Francisco where encampments have led to a massive outflow of population.

She could just as well have mentioned any of several cities in the US and Canada. As far as the UK is concerned, Glasgow should be high on Ms Braverman’s worry list as one of the cities most threatened with this kind of urban decay. It is the first British city to set up a ‘Drug Consumption Room’ for illegal street drug users. At an annual cost of £2.3million to £2.5million, it is meant to provide a safe supervised space for up to 400 drug addicts to inject their intrinsically unsafe illegal drugs.

A conspicuous feature of such ‘safe injecting facilities’, as they are euphemistically termed – as in Vancouver and Portugal – is that they bring numerous addicts together on one site, and inevitably a population of drug dealers to service them. Many stay around the site, creating the tented communities of addicts that the Home Secretary describes and wants to prevent.

‘Insight’, a drug consumption facility in downtown Vancouver which recently ‘celebrated’ 20 years of existence, is a place of open dealing in hard drugs. Thanks to Google Earth, I was able to check out what it looks like today. It is, in short, Tent City. There are tents all the way down both sides of the street. Most of the shops are closed or boarded up.  Click here to see and spin around the picture. You can see the date, lower right.

(If the link above does not work, ‘Insight’ is at <39 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1N5, Canada>).

This is the real tragedy the Scottish Government and SNP have been seduced into copying, while £2.3million per annum would be enough to provide at least four weeks of residential rehabilitation for each prospective user. 

That would be the safe route for the addicts and for Glasgow’s citizens. Instead, Glasgow authorities, following the unsafe route, are intensifying their sponsorship of street drug addiction and the urban decay that goes with it. 

It will be lucky indeed if an addict camp with a massive dealers’ camp does not follow outside their ‘facility’, exactly as Ms Braverman fears, with the Scottish law officers shamefully facilitating it. 

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David Raynes
David Raynes
David Raynes is a former international customs and anti-corruption consultant.

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