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Scheme aims to make nights out safer

PUBLISHED: 14:41 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:46 03 July 2010

Police officers working the night shift in Great Yarmouth

Police officers working the night shift in Great Yarmouth

ALCOHOL related crime in the borough of Great Yarmouth could be significantly reduced if the licensing community gets behind a banning scheme, a nightclub owner claimed this week.

ALCOHOL related crime in the borough of Great Yarmouth could be significantly reduced if the licensing community gets behind a banning scheme, a nightclub owner claimed this week.

Mike Butcher, owner of the Long Bar, on Marine Parade, believes the only way to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence in the borough is for licensed premises to work together.

And Mr Butcher is spearheading a re-launch of a harder hitting Nightsafe scheme which will see the pictures and profiles of troublesome revellers uploaded to a website, available to all premises signed up to the scheme.

Mr Butcher has worked in the night time economy in Yarmouth for more than 20 years and believes alcohol-related incidents have an affect on the whole community.

He is calling on all licensed premises within the borough to attend a meeting next week designed to offer businesses an insight to what if will offer and how it aims to reduce alcohol-related crime.

“Representatives from premises which have a licence to sell alcohol, be it a pub, nightclub, casino, supermarket or bingo hall, are welcome to attend and see what we have on offer,” said Mr Butcher.

Launched by Norfolk Police in 2004, Nightsafe was hailed a success in tackling night-time disorder. However, a revamped version of the scheme, led by licensees with police acting in an advisory capacity, aims to be more effective by issuing banning orders to troublesome yobs immediately and being easily accessible to premise managers or workers via a website.

Explaining how the new scheme will work, Mr Butcher said each premises signed up to Nightsafe will display a logo signalling their involvement and an exclusion order form will be filled in by a member of staff is a customer causes problems. The customer will be handed a copy of the form, as will police, and ordered to leave the premises. If possible a photograph of the troublemaker will also be taken. A profile of the troublemaker will then be uploaded to the website - only accessible to licensees signed up to the scheme.

Mr Butcher is confident the scheme will become a massive success and adopted by licensees and police forces across the country.

“I think this could end up being the new Crimestoppers,” said Mr Butcher, referring to the highly successful scheme which facilitated the anonymous reporting of crime, launched in Yarmouth in 1983 which went national in 1988.

“Most of the incidents we deal with at the Long Bar are when we refuse people admission when they are drunk. Therefore the problem is attributed to our premises when in fact the person or people have got drunk somewhere else.

“The fact people will not be able to do that, if they are banned under the scheme, will significantly reduce alcohol-related crime,” said Mr Butcher.

Norfolk Police have agreed to fund the website and Mr Butcher is also approaching other agencies he wishes to get involved. The James Paget University Hospital has also shown an interest in the scheme in a bid to deal with potential troublemakers visiting the A&E department on weekends.

The meeting takes place at the Novus Centre, The Conge, Yarmouth, opposite the police station, on Tuesday at 2pm.


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