A dedicated team set up to tackle the issue of Mamba in Lincoln has made hundreds of arrests and formed crucial partnerships during its first year.The Evita Team was set up in August last year following a week-long operation that targeted drug dealing in the city.
Since then, 294 arrests* have been made and 7,147grams of Mamba have been recovered. This has an estimated street value of between £35,735 and £64,323 - equivalent to 7,147 street deals.
The team forms part of a multi-agency partnership called The Rough Sleeper Project, which includes street outreach workers, two allocation officers, a mental health nurse and a substance misuse worker.
Evita also works with the City of Lincoln Council’s Intervention team, which includes ASB officers, a mental health nurse and a substance misuse worker.
The team originally targeted the city’s most prolific offenders - the 30 people who had been arrested the most.
Working with partners at the rough sleeper project, several people have been diverted away from criminality and causing issues in the city centre.
Those who rejected help and continued to commit crimes have been investigated and prosecuted.
Although originally set up to specifically target the issue of Mamba, it has evolved into a problem-solving team, on patrol seven days a week, which can respond to incidents quickly.
“There has been significant progress since last summer in dealing with the issues in Lincoln city centre,” said Sgt Steve Parker.
“We work on the basis of supporting people through our partners, but taking zero tolerance to their criminal behaviour.
“Since the team was set up we have developed excellent relationships with other agencies, to help with mental health, housing, and substance misuse.
“We are under no illusions that the situation is perfect, but we have made great strides in 12 months and will continue to tackle the issues.”
The team’s visibility has helped it develop relationships with key partners in the city, which helps Evita find offenders - and assists agencies in offering help to people who need it.
Gayle Smith is service manager for Framework’s Complex Needs and Somewhere Safe To Stay services in the city.
The former offers support to those with complex needs including substance problems and emotional issues, while the latter provides pathways into housing and services for homeless people.
She said: “The Evita team have been brilliant and we, as a team, feel a bit safer – especially as we can call on them and they will be down in a matter of minutes.
“The team pop in on a regular basis and have a rapport with some of the service users, so that they don’t see the police as a negative.
“We work with each other – we can provide information if they are looking for someone, and they can help us out too.
“We are lucky to have a partnership like this in Lincoln.”
Caroline Hannah, co-ordinator for the City of Lincoln Council’s Rough Sleeper Project, said: “The Evita team works closely with us and has been critical to our success.
“They attend our Action Group, providing information about known risk, prison release and pending court dates.
“Working together, we have been able to find those needing assessment and those with offers of accommodation who would have otherwise been difficult to find and may have missed out on those offers.
“We’ve been able to jump in the back of police vehicles to undertake assessments and visit people in custody before going to court to give the team the best chance of success.
“The working relationship we have together is the best I have ever known.”
Richard Baxter, operations manager at Lincoln BIG, said: “The work of the Evita team, and partners, has made a massive difference to the appearance of the High Street.
“Some businesses tell me that this has been a success and they are pleased with the extra police presence.”
*Around 210 people who were arrested went on to be either charged, cautioned, summoned to court or were recalled to prison. This is about 72% of the total number of people that were arrested and this may yet increase further as we are still investigating many of the other cases.
13 Aug 19 12:00 PM