|Supt Matt Richards|
Following evidence to the Public Health Advisory Committee from local officers based at Southside Police Station, an Order was made by the UK Home Office Department to ban five substances used in the legal highs which have been the source of considerable disruption and fear in the Nicolson Street corridor. The order was brought into effect just under two weeks ago and you can see the details here.
The shops in Edinburgh (including Apothecary and Puff and Stuff in Clerk Street) were visited and advised of the new regulation which prohibits the supply of the now banned drugs.
The feedback to date is that there has been a very significant fall off in incidents of disturbance in the commons stairs and streets locally and there has been a similar fall in the recovery of discarded needles in public places.
Now, a word of caution. It is early days yet and it remains to be seen whether the manufacturers and suppliers of these death drugs can bypass the order by changing the compounds. But for now, there has been a very positive impact.
Thank you to those of you who have contacted me (and other local councillors). It has enabled us to keep pressure on the local police (and others) to seek out the progress which has been made so far.
But especially, kudos to two key police officers who have provided the expertise (Sgt Neil Wilson), and drive (Supt Matt Richards) to get some national action - which is giving at least some respite to the longsuffering local residents and businesses of the Southside area. I hope the repercussions throughout the affected areas of the city and, indeed the UK, are showing similar promising signs.
Additional note 22.4.15: The banning order came into effect on 10th April.