Huge task fac­ing Op­er­a­tion Can-do

DEPUTY fea­tures editor JOHN BAKER spends a morn­ing on Op­er­a­tion CAN-DO, and learns about the task fac­ing the po­lice and Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil.

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News -

HUNDREDS of bot­tles of cheap al­co­hol and drug abusers’ nee­dles rammed into trees.

Con­doms on the floor and hu­man ex­cre­ment. Po­lice tape blow­ing in the trees, a rem­nant of past en­force­ment, and dis­carded trash.

Driv­ers pass­ing along Bourges Boule­vard ev­ery day have no idea of the den of de­prav­ity lurk­ing in a patch of grim wood­land near the cor­ner with West­field Road.

The po­lice and coun­cil are aware, well aware of the worst area of New Eng­land and Mill­field in terms of drug abuse, which they are aim­ing to clear up as part of Op­er­a­tion CANdo, a scheme launched ear­lier this year which is de­signed to re­vi­talise some of the city’s most de­prived ar­eas.

This is no short term fix; an army of clean­ers could tackle this in an hour and sweep away ev­ery bot­tle of su­per­charged white cider and nee­dle pack­ets.

They would re­turn the fol­low­ing week to find the trash had re­turned be­fore them. So other fixes are needed in the area, which for­merly also acted as a base for peo­ple sleep­ing rough.

Pcs Alan Calver and Gary John­son and Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil neigh­bour­hood en­force­ment of­fi­cer Mark Den­son have trod­den this path many times,.

A nearby patch of scrub­land, pris­tine in com­par­i­son, is the blue­print for one pos­si­ble so­lu­tion which was due to be dis­cussed later in a meet­ing be­tween the var­i­ous agen­cies.

Pc Calver said: “I have been com­ing here for many years and it has been cleaned up, although not for many years.

“We would like to clear it so that the smaller trees are re­moved, so peo­ple can see in­side and see what is go­ing on.

“It’s also not good that peo­ple can use the un­der­pass while peo­ple may be skulk­ing in the trees.

“We come here as much as we can, per­haps three or four times a day some­times, but ob­vi­ously we have other com­mit­ments.”

The trio head out ev­ery week as part of Op­er­a­tion CAN-DO, which at­tempts to ad­dress is­sues of crime and poverty while pro­mot­ing com­mu­nity spirit.

Sprit of an­other kind lit­ters the leaves and as we walk into the un­der­growth I am warned not to touch any trees.

A spine of five nee­dles pok­ing into a young tree near the en­trance negates the need for fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion.

There’s a suit­case full of trash and a bro­ken wheel­chair, pre­sum­ably used as a seat for in­ject­ing.

And the vast numbers of blue bot­tles could al­most be a gro- tesque ver­sion of the road­sides fol­low­ing the Great East­ern Run, but this is not a place of achieve­ment, just mis­ery.

The team moves on to its next desti­na­tion, HSS Hire Shop off Lin­coln Road.

Staff re­cently re­ported an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour in the area and the com­pany is pay­ing to in­stall spikes on its fences so thugs can­not clam­ber over them.

Branch man­ager Trudy Hes­keth said: “We have al­co­hol bot­tles thrown in our car park – one mem­ber of staff had a bot­tle of vodka thrown at their car.

“It’s not a good im­age for the area, but it’s good that we are get­ting help with the se­cu­rity.

“We are clean­ing the car park and we hope the spikes will go up next week, which will block off the prob­lem.”

On Princes Street a tatty brown sofa dumped on the pave­ment a day or two be­fore has not been taken, although bits of drawer have been snatched.

The awk­ward fur­ni­ture looks con­spic­u­ous near a set of brand new flats. Mark ques­tions a few peo­ple, no-one has any ex­pla­na­tion.

In a car park off Green Street there’s a dam­aged pram. Nearby is an un­taxed car – the DVLA has been no­ti­fied – and sev­eral bags

case open: Pc Calver wants to clear the area to limit op­por­tu­ni­ties for dump­ing and drug abuse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.