Borough council to discuss how to combat nesting drug dealers exploiting vulnerable Northampton residents

Cllr Anna King has proposed a motion calling for the help of Northampton residents in identifying signs of 'cuckooing'
Cllr Anna King has proposed a motion calling for the help of Northampton residents in identifying signs of 'cuckooing'

Northampton Borough Council members will debate the issue of 'cuckooing' at full council meeting next week.

The 'cuckooing' trend – where gangs befriend vulnerable people to take over their home and use it to deal drugs – has become increasingly prevalent in the town, prompting Northamptonshire Police to call on the public's help to report signs of the crime.

The local authority has also recognised the seriousness of the problem and has arranged two training sessions for 40 frontline officers across the borough council, adult social care, probation and police, with an additional 40 officers to also be trained at a further two sessions.

A motion put forward by Anna King (Con, Phippsville) echoes the police's call for the help of Northampton residents.

"This Council, working closely with the police, calls on the public to help tackle the increasing problem of ‘cuckooing’ by looking for signs that their neighbours and friends are being abused," said Cllr King.

"These can include the householder having new associates and increased visitors throughout the day and night, an increased number of vehicles outside the property including taxis or hire cars and bags of clothing or bedding around their property or other signs that people may be staying at the address.

"The support of the community is crucial for pursuing ‘cuckooing’ drug dealers and those who choose to engage themselves in the illegal supply of drugs and associated antisocial behaviour."

In what promises to be a crime-focussed meeting, members will also discuss " the alarming rates of crime, with increases in violent crime, sexual crime, trafficking, vehicle thefts, burglary and drug-related crime".

A Cllr Jane Birch (Lab, Trinity) motion proposes to call an urgent crime summit with Northamptonshire Police chief constable Simon Edens and police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold so the council can "understand the full picture of crime in the town".

“There is national concern about keeping our communities safe and the concern is widespread in Northampton," said Cllr Birch.

"We are particularly concerned that young children and young people are being exploited and sometimes also drawn into crime. We have a duty of care to our citizens and we must do all we can to keep them safe."

The Labour councillor also wants to press the home secretary to improve policing and ask the community safety team to work with partners to produce a community safety strategy detailing what steps need to be taken to ensure safety in our communities