"Our pleas for action have fallen on deaf ears" - Pub and bar owners demand action from Calderdale Council on drug users in Halifax town centre
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A video put together by the Acapulco nightclub has been released highlighting what they say is the council's negligence in protecting vulnerable people and trying to tackle the issue of drug-taking in the town centre.
In a statement, the Acapulco nightclub said: "Today, we are reaching out to the public and media to put pressure on the ongoing negligence of Calderdale Council, mainly the environmental health department, and how dismissive they are towards vulnerable people, including drug addicts and neglected children, as well as the safety of Acapulco staff and the general public.
"Despite our continuous efforts over the past five years to bring this critical issue to the Council's attention, our pleas for action have fallen on deaf ears.
"As a last resort, we have decided to release a video that highlights the severity of the situation.
"This video captures the harsh reality faced by vulnerable individuals on the streets of our town and the potential dangers posed to the public, including discarded needles and individuals found unconscious in public spaces.
"While we have chosen to exclude the most disturbing content, we believe the video is still shocking and serves as a clear call to action for Calderdale Council.
"The time for indifference and inaction has passed. We demand the council take immediate steps to address these grave issues and improve the safety and well-being of all those affected."We hope this video will serve as a wake-up call and motivate the council to take the necessary measures to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, as well as the general public and Acapulco staff. We urge everyone to watch the video and join us in our call for change."
Simon Jackson, manager of the Acapulco and vice chairman of Pub Watch Halifax, a group of around 40 licensees of town centre pubs and bars, said: "After a meeting at Halifax Pub Watch, it was 100 per cent unanimous that they'd lost faith in the council - bar one who couldn't vote because they've only just joined the group.
"We've all had problems with them not doing things they should be and we all feel it's the environmental health department who are at fault.
"There's rubbish everywhere in the town. We cleaned up nearly five tons, and we could have gone out and done another five tons.
“It’s rare for clearing up needles outside the club not to be a daily activity.
"We have had people not turn up for job interviews saying they are too scared to walk down the street.
"And as you can see in the video – would you feel comfortable walking past them?
"Often staff meet up somewhere else and walk to work in a larger group. But bear in mind this isn’t just John Street but many parts of the town and this is why Pub Watch as a group feel nothing is getting done.
"Some find needles in their beer gardens where children play.
"We were told at the last Pub Watch meeting that most have stopped calling the council as nothing gets done.”
Simon says that licensees believe the issue is directly affecting their businesses.
"We were told that managers and publicans have been verbally and physically abused by these people.
"But at that point it often becomes a police matter. We hade a meeting with the police recently after the last Pub Watch meeting and to be fair to them they have upped their game since we told them our concerns.
"Everybody would like to see the council be more proactive and monitor the town day and night.
"We've all contributed towards a CCTV van which goes round videoing stuff but nothing seems to happen off the back of it.
"There should be more help from either the council or the police for these people taking drugs and to clean up the town.
"If they don't have the money, there's pubs and clubs that might help to chip in to try and tidy the area up."
Calderdale Council has been contacted for a comment.