‘Barnsley is launching crackdown on legal highs - so should Portsmouth’ says city campaigner

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  • But Tory environment and community safety boss says ‘prudent and sensible course of action’ is to wait for new government laws to be rolled out
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QUESTIONS have been raised over Portsmouth’s lack of action over the use of legal highs – while other areas 
are tackling the lethal substances.

Barnsley Borough Council is to consult residents over plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order that would criminalise the use of new psychoactive substances in some parts of the town.

This is the sort of action I had hoped that Portsmouth would of introduced last month, when they had the chance to act.

A Portsmouth father whose son’s life has been destroyed by legal high addiction

Portsmouth City Council pledged before the general election this year it would seek to impose the same order amid growing concerns over the impact legal highs were having – but that plan was scrapped last month.

A Portsmouth father who has campaigned for a public ban after seeing his son’s life destroyed by legal high addiction is in disbelief why the city is not following Barnsley’s lead.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court has ruled £34,000 worth of legal highs be destroyed after shops were visited by police and trading standards officers – the first forfeiture order of its kind in the country.

The father, who recently warned of a legal highs ‘epidemic’ in Portsmouth, wrote to city leaders: ‘This is the sort of action I had hoped that Portsmouth would of introduced last month, when they had the chance to act.

‘But instead, they decided to do nothing and wait to see if the government bill would work when it finally becomes law.

‘A phrase that springs 
to mind is “do not put all your eggs in one basket” and this 
is I feel appropriate in this case.’

But Tory environment and community safety boss Rob New says he stands by his decision not to pursue the plans.

He said there is already a city-wide police order already in place against all activity that could lead to anti-social behaviour, and introducing another specifically for legal highs wouldn’t work.

Cllr New said: ‘With regards to other councils spending their limited resources and money on consultation to see if the new anti-social behaviour powers from the Home Office will be effective in their areas, this is not for me to comment on.

‘I do not know what existing public space protection orders, or their local police involvement/strategies that they have in their particular area.

‘But in comparison to Portsmouth, where we do already have a city-wide public space protection order in place, a hard-working and strategic police force led by an excellent police command team under Will Schofield, the prudent and sensible course of action is to wait for the new laws to be enacted in early 2016, which draws ever closer.’