Peterborough City Council is missing the point on needle menace

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I can think of few things more terrifying than pricking myself on a discarded used needle.

Actually I can. Even more terrifying would be if one of my children did.

I guess the three Peterborough mums who have started a campaign to reduce this problem are thinking along the same lines.

Needles are one of the scourges of modern day society - discarded by drug users, dirty and probably diseased.

Mums Fiona Henry, Kirsty Hadfield and Bernadette Gibbons are to be applauded for taking a lead on this issue.

They’ve set up a petition, a Twitter account (Needless Needle) and are reporting the location of this potentially deadly waste.

The petition calls on Peterborough City Council to “discuss and implement better, safer practices to reduce the amount of discarded used needles and other drug paraphernalia across the city.’’

I don’t want to be defeatist, but I’m not expecting much.

When the PT contacted the council for their response to the mums’ actions this is what it said: “Like many cities used needles are an issue in some parts of Peterborough and we are actively working with our partners to tackle this.’’

Let’s analyse this.It starts with “like many cities’’ which translates as not really our problem.

Then we hear it is “actively working with our partners’’ which is so vague it is meaningless.

There were more platitudes to come with the statement adding: “The safety of the public is our priority.’’

This from a council that proposed pulling down a bridge and replacing it with a street crossing at one of the city’s busiest junctions.

The statement went on: “and we regularly monitor areas to ensure they are clean and free of drugs paraphernalia.”

Yet a quick look at the mums’ Twitter account tells a different story.

This was one Tweet with an accompanying picture of a discarded needle.

“Reported on Friday via 747474. Followed up on Monday after another parent informed us it was still there. Followed up AGAIN this morning as still in situ. Complaint now logged with Amey,’’

When it comes to discarded needles I don’t think the city council gets the point.