Barking and Dagenham residents to help police nitrous oxide ban

17:00 21 September 2016

Concerns over laughing gas use in Barking and Dagenham have resulted in calls for inhaling it in public places to be banned Picture: PA/Yui Mok

Concerns over laughing gas use in Barking and Dagenham have resulted in calls for inhaling it in public places to be banned Picture: PA/Yui Mok

Press Association Images

Plans to ban laughing gas use in public places have taken a step forward after councillors agreed to collect evidence of hotspots.

The council renewed its pledge to crack down on the now-illegal nitrous oxide as cabinet members approved a four-year substance misuse strategy.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting last night, Cllr Maureen Worby said the public should take some responsibility in helping enforce the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

“We all know and have seen the consequences [of drug use],” she told councillors at Barking Town Hall.

“It’s important that the community takes some responsibility for what they do. We need to make sure that the vulnerable users get the support they need.”

Over the next seven months, residents will be encouraged to report sightings of the metal canisters used to consume laughing gas to the Anti Social Behaviour team.

A decision on whether to impose a PSPO will be made in September next year. If approved, the ban would be similar to orders which prevent drinking alcohol in public places.

Cllr Worby, portfolio holder for social care and health integration, noted that the council was working closely with schools to educate young people of the dangers.

“We all know our youngsters are using what they think is a harmless drug, and it’s not,” she said.

“They may think they’re harmless drugs or legal but they’re dangerous. For some it can lead to a further addiction.”

The strategy also includes plans to review alcohol licensing enforcement and provide a more integrated service for substance misuse and domestic violence services.

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