Police: fall in thefts shows town doesn't have a drug problem
CRIME statistics "do not support any suggestion that Newquay has a major drug problem", the resort's acting police inspector has said.
James Honeywill said towns where drug abuse was rife tended to see a boost in crimes such as theft and burglary as users attempted to fund their addiction.
In Newquay, however, burglary is down 24 per cent, shoplifting by 12 per cent and other thefts have dropped by 32 per cent year on year.
Cases of both supplying and possessing drugs in the Newquay and Bodmin areas had dropped by almost 15 per cent, he said.
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"Drugs and crime go hand in glove because drug users tend to commit crime in order to fund their habit," Mr Honeywill said. "What we'd expect to see in an area suffering a drug problem is an increase in crime, particularly theft- related offences. This isn't the case in Newquay."
Mr Honeywill was speaking after Cornwall's Adult Drug Treatment Needs Assessment report revealed the resort had the highest number of drug users in treatment in the county.
"If Newquay has a larger than average number of people undergoing treatment, yet isn't experiencing the levels of crime we normally associate closely with drugs misuse, it may indicate the treatment programmes are working," he said.
The police took drug crime very seriously, he said, and numerous warrants had been executed at addresses in Newquay this year.
Officers also worked with youth affairs officers and drug and alcohol team members to address the problem.
Mr Honeywill said the force's Prolific and Priority Offenders unit aimed to reduce offending by a small group of hardcore criminals, some of whom were addicted to one or more drugs.
People who had been issued with penalty notices for minor drug offences could choose to attend a drug or alcohol rehabilitation course for a fee of £40 as an alternative to paying the £80 fine for their offence.
"Statistics show that undertaking such rehabilitation courses is more likely to steer people away from drugs and hence be less likely to re-offend," said Mr Honeywill.
Intelligence and incidents were constantly reviewed, he said: "I would appeal to anyone who knows of anyone dealing drugs to let us know because we will target them and take action to protect our communities."