VISITORS to Gosport are greeted with what looks like a ‘zombie apocalypse’ thanks to drug taking at the Ferry Gardens, residents have reported at a crime and policing event.
More than 10 organisations were represented at the event held in Thorngate Hall in Bury Road, and it was hosted by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.
Joseph Blitz, a Gosport resident, said drug-use was ‘a common sight’ at the toilets near the ferry terminal.
The father-of-two said: ‘It’s like a zombie apocalypse.
‘First thing you are greeted with when you come to Gosport is people taking drugs.
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‘This event is the most amount of police officers I have seen in one place in Gosport.’
According to police statistics, more than 35 drug related crimes have been reported to the force since August 2018.
In July, police in Gosport smashed a suspected drugs ring after making nine arrests in just one day.
But Ms Dinenage said ‘crime is going up’ in the area.
She said: ‘Quite rightly people have had big concerns about crime for some time.
‘But in Gosport crime is going up at a lower rate than the rest of the area.’
The Conservative MP said it was ‘not just the responsibility of the police’ to tackle the issue.
She added: ‘It’s about parenting, it’s about youth workers, it’s about social services – crime is an issue that effects the whole community.’
She added that the area had faced some ‘high profile crimes’ in the course of the year.
In July, a large crowd of young people were caught on camera jumping on police cars and throwing objects at Gosport Borough Council enforcement officers at Hardway Slipway.
Clare Ansell, CEO of youth support charity Motiv8, said cuts to youth services were hindering early interventions to stop crime.
She said: ‘Over the last five years we have really seen the impact of austerity.
‘Youth centres have closed down, and youth services have had their budgets cut.’
Ms Dinenage defended the government’s austerity policies.
She said: ‘People have made very difficult choices, but we needed to make changes.
‘Now we have cut back, we can look again at our priorities.’