A series of recommendations to help prevent young people in Cardiff becoming involved in drug dealing has been accepted by Cabinet.
Responding to an inquiry report by Children and Young People's Scrutiny Committee and Community and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet has accepted 12 recommendations aimed at tackling the issue in the city while six recommendations are accepted in principle.
A joint Task and Finish group, comprising members from both committees as well as ward members from Butetown and Grangetown, considered the issues preventing young people's involvement in drug dealing between October 2017 and May 2018, exploring concerns such as the normalisation of drugs, impact on communities, safeguarding young people, education and crime and enforcement.
The role of agencies was also explored and the recommendations have been shared with partners for consideration.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Drug-related crime can have a significant impact, not only on the individuals involved, but on wider communities where activity is focussed. We want people in Cardiff to be safe and feel safe in their communities and I fully understand people's fears about witnessing drug-dealing, drug-taking and problems with discarded needles. This is completely unacceptable so I'm grateful to the Task and Finish group for looking into the matter and suggesting ways we can eradicate this blight in our communities.
"There's already some positive work being done to counter concerns and we can build on some early successes achieved by joint working between partner agencies to improve community safety for everyone."
Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Graham Hinchey said: "The UK-wide increase of ‘County Lines' activity and the exploitation of vulnerable young people in drug-related crimes is a serious concern so it's vital that we work with partners and communities across the city to look at ways to protect and prevent young people being caught up in this issue.
"Work is already underway to review safeguarding arrangements in the city and young people's involvement in drug dealing forms an important part of this work."
Responding to the recommendations, Cabinet agreed that the Community Safety Board should explore enforcement options, for example by using Public Space Protection Orders, for tackling anti-social behaviour associated with drug dealing and problematic drug use in order to strengthen current arrangements and ease pressure on the Police.
The need to improve community engagement and consultation to help tackle drug-related crime by replicating the locality-based partnership model in Butetown in other parts of the city was also accepted. Joint working initiatives have delivered some initial improvements in Butetown including increased engagement with residents, targeted surgeries in hotspot areas and a wider range of diversionary activities and advice for young people and families, based at the Youth Hub.
Cabinet agreed to a review current youth service provision to evaluate how the service can meet demand as well as the recommendation to use the Volunteer Cardiff portal to attract community role models and ambassadors to advise young people on the dangers of drug-use and involvement in drug-related crime.
The inquiry also recommended the development and implementation of a city-wide strategy on drug-related crime to highlight the dangers posed by ‘County Lines' activity as well as a review of current arrangements in relation to options for young people who have been excluded from school or are on reduced timetables, both of which are accepted.