Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce

Picture of Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce in South Park

Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council have created the Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce to tackle open drug dealing and drug taking in Oxford.

We believe that no one should have to put up with persistent and unchallenged drug dealing and drug taking in their community.

How to report drugs issues

  • If you witness drug dealing or drug taking in your community, please report it to Thames Valley Police on their website. All information is useful, and everyone who makes a report will receive a call back from the taskforce within a few days - and then again after six weeks.
  • If you find a discarded needle in Oxford, please report it on our report needles page. All discarded needles will be picked up within one hour during office hours and within two hours outside office hours.

Meet the taskforce

The taskforce includes a police sergeant, two police officers, two PCSOs, a problem solving officer, and a problem solving analyst.

Supt Joe Kidman, LPA Commander for Oxford, introduces the Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce

The taskforce is funded by Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Police and the Oxford Community Safety Partnership.

Councillor Tom Hayes discusses Oxford City Council's involvement in the taskforce

Work so far

The taskforce, which launched in August 2018, targets three hotspots at a time and carries out bespoke activity to make it harder to deal or use drugs in the area.

Initially the taskforce targeted Grandpont, Meadow Lane, and South Park for its work. After successful disruption activity in South Park, the taskforce then moved its activity to St Clement’s Car Park.

Olly Bayliss, from the Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce, describes the team's work in South Park

The taskforce has now moved its work from St Clement’s Car Park to two areas of East Oxford: An area between James Street, Bullingdon Road, Denmark Street and St Mary’s Road; and an area including the rest of St Mary’s Road and Hurst Street, part of Magdalen Road, and Essex Street, Hertford Street, Catherine Street, Sidney Street and Percy Street.

Sarah Lane, Friends of South Park committee member, discusses the taskforce's work in South Park

Its activity has included covert and high-visibility patrols, engagement in community meetings, needle clean-ups, and specific changes to public areas to discourage open drug dealing and drug use, including cutting back foliage to improve sightlines, installing CCTV cameras, providing additional lighting and moving public benches into more visible locations.

Find out more about the work carried out in the first six months by the taskforce.

Katherine Miles, founder of Bullingdon Road Neighbourhood Watch, describes the taskforce's work so far in Bullingdon Road

In the first six months, the taksofrce has called back 259 members of the public to gain insight into drugs issues in their neighbourhood.

How the taskforce helps drug users

The Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce refers drug users into treatment centres, including Turning Point Oxfordshire.

Andy Symons, from Turning Point, explains how the taskforce could help recovering addicts

Drug treatment is freely available in Oxford to everybody who is affected by drug use, and there are no waiting times.

Mathew, a current service user at Turning Point, said:

“I’ve been using heroin for over six years and I have noticed it has been harder to score drugs in Oxford recently, and so for the first time I have decided to sort myself out. I have spent more time doing positive things like going to Turning Point, who have been great in supporting me, and I have not used heroin for the past four weeks. Things are looking up for me at long last.”

Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce logo