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After two separate incidents in which small children came into contact with syringes while playing outside, Brno City Police sent officers around the city to collect any needles they could find. So far this year, officers have collected around 2,000 discarded needles in Brno. Photo credit: Brno City Police.

Brno, Jul 10 (BD) – Brno City Police have carried out a mass clean-up of discarded syringes across the city, prompted by two incidents in which children came into contact with the needles. This was in addition to the annual nationwide clean-up drive, Jehla, which takes place in March.

One incident involved a five-year-old boy in Zabovresky, who was playing with a group of children when he fell, and came into contact with a discarded syringe. As a result the boy had to go to the Children’s Hospital for an examination. In a separate incident in Řečkovice, a young girl began complaining to her mother during a walk of a pain in her foot. On inspection, the mother found a syringe sticking out of her rubber boot. The needle was sent for professional analysis as a precaution.

This prompted the police into action: “We decided to react immediately and send police officers all over Brno again, with special attention to areas near playgrounds, sandpits and other places where children like to play,” said Luboš Oprchal, director of the Brno City Police.

Oprchal also praised two young Brno residents for their exemplary behaviour. The two children, one boy and one girl, called the police within 15 minutes of each other in early June after finding used syringes on the floor, in separate incidents in Židenice and Černé Pole.

“The children deserve praise. They did not touch the syringes , but immediately picked up the phone and called line 156. They described exactly where they were and agreed to wait for the officers to arrive to make it easier to find them. We recommended exactly this procedure on the illustrated information cards, which police officers had put up at playgrounds and sent to schools and kindergartens,” said Oprchal.

The City Police collect syringes throughout the year, and pass the statistical data on to the Czech Police and other drug enforcement agencies to help map drug use. Last year the police joined forces with Archeo Moravia, a group of amateur treasure-hunters, who used their metal detectors to look for dangerous sharp objects in children’s playgrounds while the police were looking for syringes. In addition, since 2015 Brno City Police have been participating in the nationwide “Jehla” clean-up event, an initiative co-founded by Brno and Prague City Police officers. 

Last year, the number of discarded syringes found in Brno dropped for the first time since 2013. Police found 3,715 of the needles, 77 fewer than the previous year. So far this year, they have collected around 2,000.

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