Dundee’s new area commander says ensuring Dundonians do not stumble upon instances of public drug use is a major police priority.
Temporary area commander Nicola Russell was unveiled on Wednesday afternoon.
In a wide-ranging interview, Ms Russell also revealed that armed police would be a more common sight. When it came to tackling drug addiction, she said community police will do all they can to ensure drug addicts are given the help and support they require.
Ensuring there is not a repeat of last month’s harrowing images of a collapsed drug user in a busy city centre car park is key, according to Ms Russell.
Directing drug addicts to appropriate health services and not allowing members of the public to witness users injecting in public is a top priority, the temporary area commander said.
Ms Russell revealed: “Of course we do not want to see drug users, or anybody, in any car park, or any public area, being photographed and put in the paper.
“That’s not because we don’t want to see it because it’s happening, it’s that we don’t want to see it because we don’t want it to happen — that’s the key for me.
“So we will continue, in Dundee, to work with our partners. We’ve got the ambassadors, we’ve got the city centre policing team and community wardens.
“It’s really about us all working together and trying to signpost people to the appropriate resources
“Hopefully we will be able to prevent that (public drug use) and get people into the right programmes or NHS facilities that they require.
“Drugs harm people’s lives, that’s the bottom line.”
Security and CCTV has been boosted in Bell Street car park after The Courier revealed how a young family witnessed a collapsed drug user.
Dundee’s health and social care convener has already said he believes the introduction of safe and supervised drug zones may help.
Councillor Ken Lynn has described the current anti drugs model as “flawed” and has called for a fresh approach to tackle the nation’s drug epidemic.
In addition to tackling drug addiction, Ms Russell added that an increase in armed officers will be deployed in Dundee in the near future.
She said: “There will absolutely be more armed officers in Dundee.
“The threat level is representative of the whole of the UK and not in response to a specific threat locally.
“My message would be that this is not something to be fearful of. These officers are there to provide public safety. The threat level is currently at severe and we want to make sure we are in a position to react to that.
“I support arming officers in this way. It’s not something for people to be worried about — it is purely for reassurance.”