BUSINESS owners in an area of Glasgow which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour have been forced to fork out thousands of pounds in extra security.

Office workers have even had to call emergency services after a drug user was found comatosed at the entrance to their premises with one city firm saying they frequently find drug injecting paraphernalia in their stairwell as well as being subjected to verbal abuse.

Now the firm in Union Street has taken action and has stepped up security to protect their staff at a cost of £10,000 to the business.

The business owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We have had to resort to investing in increased security. While we might have a secure entry system people have been able to gain access to our building. We find needles and drugs paraphernalia in our stairwell and let’s just say bodily fluids. We are calling police two or three times a week to report the issues.

Glasgow Times: Police Scotland have been made aware of the issues in Union StreetPolice Scotland have been made aware of the issues in Union Street

 

“We have also had to call emergency services as someone was lying comatosed and they needed help. We are taking measures to prevent access to the building, but we are still concerned that our staff, which is predominately female, face verbal threats in the street. One member of staff was threatened with violence.”

During lockdown the business closed during severe restrictions, but reopened as soon as they could as they are an exam centre for professional bodies and industries.

The business owner added: “We have been operating throughout and reopened at a time when there wasn’t that many people returning to the city, but now as more and more people come back our problems seem to be exacerbated. I have every sympathy for people who have problems and are in need of help and they need the right help, however we do as well as we want to run a business here.”

One worker in the area said: “A couple of weeks ago I had to call the police to get someone to come out and remove a male from lying spread eagle in the entrance. We also have others come in and sit drinking alcohol and using drugs in the entrance and close the storm doors to outsiders. I have cleaned up everything from bodily fluids, blood, faeces, vomit, you name it I have cleaned it.

“We see drug deals happen on the street and one day there were four ambulances as three people had overdosed.”

Glasgow Times: Union Street businesses have stepped up securityUnion Street businesses have stepped up security

 

Just last month it was revealed seizures of drugs, knives and weapons had doubled in Glasgow city centre as most lockdown restrictions ended.

Problems areas, the Four Corners, Union Street, Gordon Street and Clyde Street, were said to be causing anti-social behaviour and violence concerns for police.

Police Inspector Iain Sibbald told the Glasgow City Council Anderston, City and Yorkhill Partnership meeting: “Our detections for drugs, knives and weapons have almost doubled since this time last year due to increased proactivity and stop searches.

“An increase in stop and search accounts for this. “You can look at it one way and say ‘that is dreadful there is an increase in knife crime and drugs in the city centre.”

“The other way to look at it is because we are stopping more people and finding more of these items. That accounts for these figures.”

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said they were very aware of the issues and problems caused by anti-social behaviour in Glasgow city centre.

Mr Patrick said: “It is regularly reported to us by our members and we are very keen to work with the police, the City Council and other agencies to tackle what has become a serious concern. The city centre is faced with a mountain to climb to recover from the pandemic, and it is vital that it presents a face that is attractive to welcome back visitors and customers.”

While Lord Provost, Bailie Philip Braat, speaking in his role as local councillor, said: “I am very concerned to hear that local businesses in the Union Street area are having to increase their security measures. Every resident and business should be secure in the knowledge that they can live and trade safely. As this seems not to be the case, I am very keen to enter into discussions with the local businesses, Police Scotland and other community safety stakeholders to find a way to alleviate the concerns of the local business community, so that they can start thriving again, particularly after the very trying past 18 months.”

SNP councillor for Glasgow City Centre, Angus Millar, said the issues raised were of real concern adding that now was the time for a different approach.

“As a local councillor, I am regularly in contact with Police Scotland about anti-social behaviour and drugs issues in certain areas of the city centre," said Councillor Millar. "Instances of drug taking in public are obviously of real concern to businesses, residents and all people affected.

"As well as police attention to respond to incidents like this, it is vital that we address the underlying challenge of what is a small population of very vulnerable individuals who are consuming drugs in city centre streets and building stairwells on a regular basis. Drug dependency must be recognised and treated as a public health matter, and it’s clear that the time has come for reform of the 50-year old UK Misuse of Drugs Act to fundamentally change the way we deal with these issues.

"It’s also crucial that we are able to move forward in Glasgow with new approaches such as Safer Drug Consumption Facilities."

Police Scotland were contacted for comment.