Let’s ban alcohol and drugs from the beach and city parks

This is the text of my latest Opinion column first published in the Brighton Argus on Wednesday 22nd July 2015)

If Brighton and Hove City Council are to ban smoking from public parks and the beach, can I suggest that they go further by banning and enforcing alcohol and drug use as well.

Recent reports of needles in the toilets on The Level and injecting in the Dorset Gardens Peace Park are just the tip of the iceberg.  I was told about an incident in the last month where two Council employees were observed challenging a couple drinking larger in the Pavilion Gardens, but ignored a couple of older women drinking gin and tonic from cans and a couple smoking cannabis.

As someone who walks my dog on The Level, there are times of day when that area can be particularly unpleasant.

I would strongly support a ban on alcohol, drug and tobacco use in our parks and on the beach. But for such a ban to work, it must be enforced. Sadly, over the years, successive administrations of all colours have allowed a drift from front-line employees to desk-bound officers.

Gone are the Parks Police of yesteryear, replaced by much higher paid policy, strategy and co-ordinating staff who produce great policy and strategy documents but who make little difference to the lives of ordinary people who use our parks.

Given the saturation of alcohol outlets in the City and associated social and health problems (thanks to the deregulation of licensing by the Blair government) wouldn’t it be great if there were a few oases in the town where cigarettes, alcohol and drugs were absent?


3 thoughts on “Let’s ban alcohol and drugs from the beach and city parks

  1. Shouldn’t you focus more on the fact that people are taking drugs in the first place rather than where they are taking them? If these are addicts who’s only choice is to go to a local park and shoot up then there is a more important issue

    • I agree you should focus on the fact that people are taking drugs, and I have been doing so for a couple of decades! I am very proud of the work of BHT’s Addiction Service which provides a second-to-none treatment service for those seeking recovery and an abstinence-based life. I was the manager of that service for seventeen years. By raising the issue of drug use on the beach and in the parks was to provoke debate and to challenge the comfortable, liberal consensus in Brighton and Hove that drug use is an acceptable activity.

      Thanks for your comment.

      • Gotcha, It does seem a lot of people nowadays, when thinking about drug addiction and drug use, will try to sweep the problem under the rug without tackling the real reason why it exists. I myself will be living in Brighton for the next few years to take part in University and from what I have seen it is a very unique place.

        For me however, drug use is something that is something that is a very private matter that people take part in. I am very much in the opinion that if it is something that does not affect anyone else then it can be something to pursued. Even with this considered that I myself don’t really see the problem with drugs, the idea people are doing it in a park and leaving behind their refuse is extremely inconsiderate and wrong. Much like leaving a bottle of beer in the park after you have had a drink, it will be down to someone else to clean it up and affects the environment in different ways

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