NORTH Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime commissioner is promising action in the battle against drugs across the county as concern grows about the impact of drug-use and the problems it creates.

Julia Mulligan brought together key partners and agencies yesterday for a Drug Summit at North Yorkshire Police headquarters in Northallerton. At the event she set out some of the findings of a snapshot survey taken over the weekend.

Nearly 2,000 members of the public chose to give their concerns to the survey, run by the commissioner’s office. Eighty four per cent of those who took part said they are more worried about drugs in their local area than 12 months ago. The survey found that 66 per cent of those taking part are aware of people dealing drugs in their local area and 35 per cent have seen it actually happening in the last month.

Also, 78 per cent of all respondents are aware of people taking drugs in their local area and 59 per cent have seen/smelt/found evidence in the last month.

Of those who had seen dealing or taking, over half felt angry, followed by unsafe and annoyed.

In addition, 79 per cent did not report the dealing and 85 per cent did not report seeing/finding evidence of drug taking.

Julia Mulligan wanted to take this snapshot of views from across the county to help all partners understand the scale of the problem being faced from the public’s perspective.

The event brought together North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Public Health Team, North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Sport, North Yorkshire Youth Commission, Job Centre Plus and North Yorkshire Horizons

Mrs Mulligan said: “North Yorkshire has a problem with drugs. It’s important we say that because we can’t deal with the problem before we admit there is one.

“Our snapshot survey does not claim to be scientific, but it does show there are real fears and real concerns that we need to address.

“The vast majority of people who were concerned enough to take part are more worried about drugs than they were last year, with one in three having seen drug dealing in their community within the last month.

“In my view, one of the most troubling results is another finding which shows parents, in particular those of young men, who are concerned about their child being drawn into drugs.

“I have absolutely no doubt that organisations on the front line are doing some excellent work, particularly supporting those with serious addictions. My concern however is that we are collectively underestimating the wider problem, and in particular how it makes people feel and the impact it has on communities.

“We need to send a clear message to drug dealers that North Yorkshire is not open for business. We also need to continue to educate young people and the public about the dangers of the drugs trade, not least the human misery and exploitation it causes.

“Many will look at somewhere like North Yorkshire and think drugs is not an issue here. They are wrong. We are taking action; but we need to take more. With everyone’s help, and by working together, we will do better.”