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Senior Barking and Dagenham Labour councillor brands suspected drug addict a “human rat”

PUBLISHED: 12:59 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:53 05 September 2017

Barking and Dagenham Labour councillor, Jeanne Alexander, has called a woman she suspects of being a drug adict a

Barking and Dagenham Labour councillor, Jeanne Alexander, has called a woman she suspects of being a drug adict a "human rat."

Archant

A senior Labour councillor who chairs a committee promoting social inclusion has branded a woman she suspects to be on drugs as a ‘human rat.’

Jeanne Alexander, lead member of the safer & stronger community select committee, made the comment about a woman she thought had been “moved on” by the council during an outburst on her personal Facebook page last week.

She said: “Rats in Barking town centre... Rodent type rat walking along pavement... Yuk. Human rat at Barking Station... She is known to police and ASB team... Tells everyone a lovely story but is a druggie. I have seen her twice in Westfield in the last few weeks and as LBBD had her moved on about a year ago I thought she had gone. No. Back conning innocent people out of money.”

Council leader Darren Rodwell has rebuked his colleague, saying her views do not reflect their “compassionate approach.”

He added: “I am shocked to hear these views from such a long-standing member of the council.”

Drugs charity Addaction has also criticised her remarks.

A spokeswoman said: “There is no excuse for calling vulnerable people in our communities ‘human rats.’

“We would encourage any councillor to come to our service, meet the people changing their lives and the staff supporting them so they can learn about the issues leading to problematic alcohol or drug use and work out how they can use their role to make a positive difference.”

Alexander’s outburst is in stark contrast to official comments she has previously made about drugs.

Speaking in 2014 after five ravers were hospitalised at an event in Newham, she said: “This council cares about the health and wellbeing of its residents, including older and vulnerable members of the community.

“So we urge people to consider the effects of drug misuse and the impact it may have on their lives or those of family and friends.”

After being contacted for a comment on the controversy by this paper, Alexander says she regrets the language used.

“It was too harsh what I said,” she conceded. “It was just one too many people begging... I wish you could just tell the genuine people who really need somewhere to sleep from the drug addicts.”

Elsewhere on her Facebook, Alexander recently updated her profile picture to a photo captioned “no place for hate.”

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