JOHN Kent, the newly appointed chair of Thurrock Council’s Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee says he wants to help launch a fight against drugs in the borough.
Speaking on Saturday (26th May) Mr Kent – who is also the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for the Thurrock constituency – said: “I want to see a cross-party triple scrutiny investigation involving members from the Children’s, Cleaner, Greener, Safer and the Housing O&S committees, and I want to see it done soon.
“Drugs are the scourge of our society and of our borough; and it’s getting worse here with London gangs export their evil business to Thurrock as the Met Police is forcing them out of the capital.
“I will want to talk with senior police officers from Essex to find out what they are doing to tackle this menace – no longer can we accept the pitifully low levels of police on our streets.
“I want to talk to the council’s own officers in housing, in public protection, and in youth and children’s services. What is Thurrock Council doing now to protect some of our most vulnerable people?
“And I want to talk to educationalists, not just from the council departments, but from the schools and colleges across the borough; people who are probably dealing with these issues daily and to people from outside of Thurrock who have had greater experience in dealing with these issues
Mr Kent added: “There has been much written and shown in the national media about the so-called County Lines phenomenon where drug-trafficking and violence is being exported from city centres to surrounding counties and towns.
“Well I fear that it is happening here. The drug-lords of London are seeking to coerce our young people – sometimes very young – into the drug trade. That can only lead to violence and death.
“I want to see a response in Thurrock as soon as possible. I want to see people giving evidence and suggesting counter measures.
“I want to see all sides coming together quickly before we become over-run by drugs and knife- and gun-crime, because that will happen if we all just sit on our hands and do nothing.”
Cllr John Kent was appointed unopposed to the chair of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the annual meeting of Thurrock Council on Wednesday (23 May)