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Police and Mayor Dorothy Thornhill: 'Watford High Street violence statistics are nonsense'
Police and Watford’s elected mayor have criticised stats, which listed Watford High Street as one of the top five most violent in Britain, describing them as "a nonsense".
Earlier this week official police statistics showed an average of 201 violent offences were committed on average in High Street every month.
The stats placed the town fourth on the list of having the most violent crimes committed, behind Antrim’s Muckamore Abbey Hospital (677), Meridian Square in Stratford, London (235), Belfast Airport (229), with Birmingham’s Broad Street fifth (175).
The police said the stats were skewed as they depended on the number of people living in the area where the offences occurred.
A Hertfordshire Constabulary spokesman said: "The site works on the basis of listing the number of crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents against the background resident population - i.e. crimes per thousand population who actually live in the area.
"Therefore places like town centres, night-time economy or transport hubs which have very low resident populations but thousands of shoppers etc appear to have high crime rates as the rate is measured against the very low resident population and not the high visitor population.
"It does not necessarily mean that such places are not a safe to visit and enjoy."
Mayor Thornhill added: "It’s nonsense as we know within our crime family - when we are compared to other similar towns - we are far from worst. It is simplistic and we know it is wrong as crime is dropping in the town."
The mayor said violence had improved in the town centre over the last year largely due to the introduction of the Scan Net system.
This scheme sees nightclubs and pubs record the IDs of people entering the venue and then the lists can be used by police to identify suspects if trouble breaks out.
Mayor Thornhill said: "As the mother of a daughter who was assaulted in the town centre I know exactly what it’s like when it happens, so I am not minimising it.
"But it is not the hellhole that being fourth on the list makes out as if it was people would not come. Most people who have come here to go out don’t intend to go home via Shady Lane or A&E."
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