A senior police officer at the heart of the city’s work to combat the growing impact of spice use says the force and its partners will do all they can to tackle it.
Chief Inspector Richard Padwell not only heads up neighbourhood policing in Leeds city centre but also chairs a multi-agency group on the issue.
“In common with many other parts of the country, we have seen a visible increase in the number of incidents relating to the use of the drug in the city centre,” he said.
“The police and our partner agencies are taking the issue very seriously and are committed to doing everything we can to address the problem.”
One element of this is the creation of the Street Support Team, which includes a number of police officers.
Chief Insp Padwell said: “The officers on that team have already been making spice-related arrests in their first weeks of operation.”
Earlier this week, Business Against Crime in Leeds highlighted the problem of spice users shoplifting and acting aggressively when challenged.
Chief Insp Padwell said: “The City Neighbourhood Policing Team has been making regular use of dispersal powers to disrupt the criminal and anti-social behaviour linked to spice.
“They have also continued to work alongside partner agencies to develop more effective approaches to dealing with users.
“One initiative sees users caught in possession of personal amounts of the drug offered an appointment with Forward Leeds as part of the community resolution process.
“The aim is to educate them about the dangers and steer them away from regular use, but those who fail to attend the appointments will face prosecution.”
Other police teams are working to target the dealers themselves, with more than £800,000 of the drug seized in the past six months and 11 arrests made.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with the affects of spice, Forward Leeds can help. Click here to visit their website, or call 0113 8872477.