Police tackle local drugs concerns

Charles Dickens ward’s police team have seized cannabis plants in a warrant in the city centre over the weekend.
Plants were seized by officers from the Charles Dickens and St Jude’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) along with the force support unit, in an operation on Charlotte Street in the heart of Portsmouth on Friday.
A significant number of cannabis plants and equipment were located and seized.
Sergeant Richard Holland said:
“This was a very successful operation; the seizure of these plants will be a significant loss to the dealer.
This action sends a clear message to the public and demonstrates the NPTs commitment to combating the drugs issue in Portsmouth.”
Cllr Stephen Morgan, ward councillor for Charles Dickens welcomes the local police’s actions.
He said:
“Residents have told me drug dealing is an issue in our communities. Last week I went out on night patrol across the city centre to see firsthand the actions the police take to keep our communities safe.
This warrant was executed as part of the local team’s ongoing commitment to tackle drug dealing on our streets. I am grateful to the neighbourhood team for taking our concerns seriously and for taking this action”.
Sgt Holland added: 
“I am pleased that Cllr Morgan was able to accompany officers on patrol, to see first-hand the hard work that goes into protecting the most vulnerable people in our community.
It was also a good opportunity to highlight our ongoing proactive operations, such as targeting drug dealers and their associated violence in the city”.

Protecting Portsmouth's culture 

Portsmouth council has confirmed funding for local cultural organisations for the coming year at a decision making meeting this week. 
The city council will be allocating over £197,000 in 2017/18 to a range of local charities or groups including the Kings Theatre, New Theatre Royal, Aspex Visual Arts Trust and the City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport.
Money will be used for cultural bodies to run local programmes, provide activities and support running costs.
Speaking in support of the decision, Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour’s culture, leisure and sport spokesperson said:
“Cultural organisations contribute hugely to the city’s offer, helping to make Portsmouth a great place to live, work and visit. 
By giving grants to support the core business of these organisations, the council is helping groups lever in much bigger funding from elsewhere, such as the heritage lottery or Arts Council.
These grants must be protected so Portsmouth’s rich cultural opportunities can be for the many, not the few”.
All grants are subject to an agreement with the council. A range of monitoring arrangements are put in place to ensure funding achieves agreed outcomes and secures value for money.  

Portsmouth Labour slams government over ‘scandal’ of rising homelessness

Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, has criticised the Government after new homelessness statistics showed that 37 people slept rough on the streets in Portsmouth on one night in 2016, up from 5 in 2010.
The official figures show that across England homelessness has more than doubled since 2010, and risen by 50% in the last two years alone. This means that street homelessness has risen every year under the Conservatives.
Under the Labour government from 1997-2010, rough sleeping fell by three-quarters and the number of households accepted as homeless by councils across England fell by almost two-thirds.
The new rough sleeping statistics come as ministers are under increasing pressure to publish their delayed housing white paper – a housing policy relaunch after seven years of failure on housing on all fronts.
Labour has warned that homelessness will not be significantly reduced unless the causes of rising homelessness in the last seven years are tackled. The Party has set out how Conservative cuts and decisions since 2010 have led directly to higher homelessness:

  • cuts to housing benefit support worth over £5bn since 2010 – thirteen separate cuts to housing benefit over the last five years, including the bedroom tax and breaking the link between housing benefit for private renters (local housing allowance) and private rents;
  • cuts to ‘supporting people’ which funds homelessness services – the National Audit Office have revealed that this vital funding fell by 45% between 2010 and 2015;
  • soaring private rents – averaging more than £2000 extra each year than at the same point 2010; and;
  • the loss of affordable homes – with over 140,000 fewer council homes than in 2010, and the number of new government funded homes for started for social rent falling from nearly 40,000 in 2009/10 to less than 1,000 last year.

Cllr Stephen Morgan said:
“Labour is calling on the Government to get to grips with the scandal of rising homelessness across the country. 
“Here in Portsmouth we’re involved in a task group to tackle the issues the city faces.
“With such a significant increase in the number of people sleeping rough, homelessness must become everyone’s business.”
Last weekend Cllr Morgan went out on night patrol across the city centre with the police in order to talk with people sleeping rough on the city’s streets and understand local homeless issues.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said:
“The scale of rising homelessness should shame us all. The number of people sleeping on the streets fell under Labour but has doubled with Conservative Ministers in charge.
These figures are a terrible reminder of the consequences of Conservative Ministers’ seven years of failure on housing.
The Government’s long-promised housing white paper will fall at the first hurdle if it does not set out how they will end the national disgrace of rough sleeping, as Labour has committed to do.”

Councillor joins police night patrol to share residents’ concerns

Councillor joins police night patrol to share residents’ concerns

Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, went out on patrol with the police team covering his ward on Saturday (21 January).
Earlier this month Cllr Morgan confirmed that crime and safety would be a key priority for him this year after residents and community groups have raised their concerns about local issues in the city.
The night shift started with Sergeant Richard Holland in charge of the police team covering the Charles Dickens beat. This included a briefing on recent initiatives by the police and information on how the safer neighbourhood team engage the community, local groups and businesses.
img_7675Then it was out and about on patrol in one of the busiest areas to police in the whole of Hampshire. The team’s patch includes Portsea, Landport, the city council and parts of Fratton, Buckland and Somerstown. With a high student population in the ward, a range of housing estates, Commercial Road shopping area and the night time economy of Guildhall Walk, there is lots for the police to be doing as they are dispersed around the beat.
Cllr Morgan went out in a police car and on foot with a police officer meeting up with the team of PCSOs and other police officers at sites across the beat area. This included home visits, trips along Guildhall Walk and Commercial Road and stopping by to talk with local people.
The night patrol includes visiting vulnerable people in their own home, talking to people who are sleeping rough on our streets, and helping out when there’s incidents in Guildhall Walk.
During the cold night, someone is arrested by the team for being in possession of drugs, a house party told to keep the noise down and someone caught stealing a bike. The police officer also helps report a paint can spillage on the highway.
Cllr Morgan said:
“I was particularly keen to learn more about Operation Build aiming to tackle issues around drug dealing in our city. This initiative is a partnership which concentrates on protecting vulnerable people and addresses from drug-dealers visiting the city and associated violence.
I was impressed with the results being achieved from this approach and was grateful to see officers work on this initiative first hand. The police are tough on offenders as I saw from the arrest tonight”.
Local people have been encouraged by Cllr Morgan to help set policing priorities for the area by filling in an online survey.
The Charles Dickens Safer Neighbourhood Team are currently asking residents to have their say. The survey can be completed by visiting: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dickenscharles
“It is important everyone has their say on local policing priorities for our area. By doing so, the police can target their resources on the concerns that matter to us”.
After a long night shift finishing back at 2am at the Central Police Station on Winston Churchill Avenue in freezing temperatures, Cllr Morgan was impressed with the police’s work.
He added:
“The police do a tremendous job keeping our communities safe, day in, day out. I respect the tough job they do. But they can only do their job with the help and confidence of residents. It was great to see officers interact with members of the public bringing reassurance to local people.
With limited resources they are making a difference in our great city and supporting the most vulnerable. Tonight was a great way to recognise and thank the team for everything they do. I hope to join them out on patrol again soon”.

Lets turn Brexit into an opportunity

This morning the Prime Minister, Theresa May made a speech on the government’s priorities for Brexit.

In a statement issued today, Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader, responds to the speech on what Brexit should mean for the city’s communities.

Cllr Morgan says: 

“Portsmouth decided to vote leave and Labour stands by that decision. What is important to me is that we turn Brexit into an opportunity for our great city.  

Whatever deal the government decides to pursue, we need to ensure that local businesses succeed.

We need to attract new investment and we need to create much-needed new well-paid jobs for local people.  

I’m proud of what Portsmouth achieves. Labour will always back Pompey and its people. We know that together we can make a success of Brexit.”

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