Local MP Karen Lee: not always link between homelessness and drugs

The Lincoln MP Karen Lee has said that the link between homelessness and drugs is ‘not a given’.

The MP told LSJ News her views on the link as figures show that whilst Lincoln remains one of the highest areas in Lincolnshire for homelessness – drug crime hit a three year high in the summer.

Ms Lee hosted a meeting last week where members of the public heard talks from figures including the Chief Inspector of Lincolnshire Police, Stewart Brinn, on concerns around policing in the area.

She said: “It’s no secret that there has been an issue in Lincoln with people sleeping on the streets and with drugs in the city centre and I think the whole point about the meeting was making it clear that whilst sometimes there is an overlap between the two, it’s not a given and it’s not always the case.”

Figures from Police UK show that there were 40 drug-related crimes reported in the July of this year – the highest since records began in October 2015.

Meanwhile, figures from the Lincolnshire County Homeless Strategy Group show that the City of Lincoln Council was the second highest authority for homeless people seeking support in Lincolnshire, with 242 reports for the 2016/17 year.

But the MP added: “You will get homeless people who take ‘spice’ or whatever but then you’ll get people who come into the city centre, sell drugs and then go home at the end of the day.

“I feel now that there’s some hope, that we’re turning things round and  it seems to me that homelessness on the streets doesn’t seem as bad as it was.”

It was the second ‘community engagement event’ hosted by the MP where members of local government and the public discuss an issue in the local area.

The meeting was also attended by the Director for Communities and Environment at the City of Lincoln Council, Simon Walters.

The MP added that she would like to host more of the events going forward.

She said: “It’s one more thing that as an MP I can offer my constituents… I’m the kind of MP that listens to what people have to say.

“It’s not just about what I think it’s about what my constituents – and that’s all of them not just the ones that voted for me – it’s about what all of them think.”

Listen to the full interview below: