More than 100 drugs needles have been safely discarded in special disposal boxes installed in locations across Peterborough.
Peterborough City Council has been actively working alongside a number of organisations including drugs support group Aspire, Cambridgeshire Police and local campaigners ‘Needless Needles’ as part of a special task group to tackle the problem of discarded needles and drugs paraphernalia.
Last year, the group was successful in bidding to the Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner for ten boxes, which are designed to encourage people to safely dispose of needles, syringes and other drugs equipment.
The boxes were installed in September 2019 and two months on, a total of 107 needles and paraphernalia have been installed in the boxes, which are emptied once a week.
The boxes, which are marked with stickers stating 'sharps disposal', have been installed in locations based on past data for needle find areas in the city. (One box is still to be installed in a hot spot location).
Dr Liz Robin, director for public health at Peterborough City Council, said: “I am pleased to see that the needles bins are already being well used. We would encourage people to continue to use them and for members of the public to continue to report any finds to us.
“Discarded needles are not an uncommon sight in many towns and cities in the UK. So this is not a problem unique to Peterborough, but we want to do everything within our power to protect the health and safety of the public.”
To help make people aware of how to report needle finds and who they need to contact for this, the task group has also produced new reporting cards which list contact numbers.
The cards are being handed out to venues across the city including community groups, housing associations, doctors' surgeries, sports clubs and police stations.
The task group has also worked with local pharmacies to deliver a needle exchange programme encouraging drug users to return needles and officers have visited 26 primary schools to talk to youngsters about the dangers of playing with discarded needles.
While residents are encouraged to report any needle finds to the council, people should never attempt to pick up any drugs paraphernalia that they find.
Anyone who finds discarded drugs equipment in Peterborough can report it online or by calling 01733 747474.