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Residents urge police to tackle cannabis use in Whitchurch

RESIDENTS in Whitchurch have called on police to clamp down on “blatant” cannabis use in the area.

A Police and Communities Together (Pact) meeting last night heard from residents who said the drug was being blatantly used and called on officers to take action.

Hollybush Estate residents said the smell of cannabis was growing stronger in the area and questioned the area’s two Police Comunity Support Officers’ (PCSOs) policy on drug abuse.

St Mary's Garden

St Mary’s Garden. (Photo: John Lord)

This follows a spate of antisocial behaviour linked with cannabis usage around St Mary’s Garden on Old Church Road, particularly during warmer evenings.

One Hollybush Estate resident, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke of widespread cannabis usage at present: “There is more and more of a smell as you pass flats. It is absolutely stinking.

“Drugs are blatantly being abused in our area.”

Residents also shared their concerns that this is linked to a recent increase in graffiti and petty crime in the area.

PCSO Dunning responded strongly to questions about PCSOs’ policy on cannabis: “We would absolutely investigate concerns about this. I would ask any residents to call 101.

“We do not ignore it, that’s for sure.”

Another PACT attendee, who did not want to be named, remained dissatisfied: “I could be ringing 101 every hour. It happens all the time.”

The meeting also discussed the fall in the number of PCSOs operating in the area.

Within a year the number of PCSOs operating from Fairwater Police Station has dropped from 18 to eight, despite the Welsh Government’s award of £16m to fund 500 PCSOs last year.

PCSO Gary Dunning said this drop is due to PCSOs still being trained. He also noted that he had no choice in where PCSOs are allocated.

Julie Morgan, Cardiff North AM, expressed disappointment in the reduced numbers and promised to enquire into the issue.

Members of PACT also raised concerns about the instability caused by the five changes of Beat Manager in Whitchurch since last Spring. The new Beat Manager, PC Liz Walle, will start work in February.

PCSO Dunning announced that the increased police presence in Whitchurch from mid-December to mid-January has just been extended.

Cardiff Bed and Furniture Centre

Cardiff Bed and Furniture Centre was a recent victim of burglary in Whitchurch.

Officers are to continue their patrols into the nights in a mix of high visibility and plain clothes, both in vehicles and on foot.

The decision to extend the patrols was made after 12 burglaries were committed in Whitchurch and Llandaff North since December 1.

PACT logo

PACT logo

If you wish to discuss any issues with a PCSO, a ‘Cuppa with a Copper’ event takes place between 2pm and 4pm on the first Tuesday of every month at Deli a Gogo on Penlline Road.

The next Whitchurch PACT meeting will be held on March 14 at 7pm in Ararat Church.

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