Life in a Council tower block has its problems. Noise and other selfish behaviour can be significant. Social housing has been available to the working classes since 1945, which massively reduced private rented accommodation with improved housing at a lower price. But Council tenants are blighted by a lack of opportunities. There is prejudice, racism, poor reputation, and suspicion, just for living in social housing. Looking over the estate from my fifth floor balcony I’ve seen many changes.
In the last five or six years, a new drugs phenomenon has grown. It began quite unobtrusively with strangers coming onto the estate, briefly meeting with some of our (more insalubrious) neighbours. A quick chat and handshake and that was that. Now however, it seems to be a far more sophisticated organisation. It appears that those with money and know-how, simply ring their drug dealer and within minutes cars (some very expensive) come onto the estate. Their windows are down and like a “Pizza Delivery” within seconds the deal is done, and they are gone.
Clearly we’re not pleased with this development, but police action is problematic. On dialling 101, to report that drugs are openly being sold on the estate, first, there’s a delay before actually speaking to a police assistant. Fifteen or twenty minutes of hanging on by which time you still haven’t made contact with anyone and the drugs deal has long been done It’s very dispiriting and you lose all motivation. Trying 999 leaves you trying to explain that it’s a sort of emergency. But, probably rightly, they’re not interested and you’re completely sorry to have wasted everybody’s time.
More concerning is who are the customers of the drug dealers. Young and older people and adults with children: no boundaries. Tellingly those same people ask to borrow money on the most spurious of excuses. Needless to say, “The school of hard knocks,” soon teaches you not to subsidise those with addiction.
The rights or wrongs of addiction, are debatable. But it seems, with the reduction in police numbers and Community Police since 2010, drug dealers know they’ll have to be very unlucky to get caught. Austerity has emboldened criminals and brutalised our society. And it’s not just on my estate: it’s everywhere.