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Statistical skew gives Watford most violent street in Britain, police say
Watford has been credited with having the most violent street in Britain due to a statistical skew, according to police bosses in the town.
Inspector Deirdre Dent told Watford Borough councillors last night that Albert Road South had been reported as one of the worst crime hotspots due to its position near the High Street and large businesses.
The senior Watford officer’s comments came after councillors questioned her about crime in the town centre at a meeting of the community safety partnership task group.
Labour councillor Asif Khan said he had been "embarrassed" to read a Watford street named in national newspapers as the most violent in Britain last month.
He said: "I am concerned about the image this is giving Watford."
Last month the Sunday Times reported figures from the UKcrimestats website that showed there had been more than violent crimes -281 - reported in the road during 2011, more than in any other road in Britain.
The site, which uses Home Office crime figures, also showed there were a total of 1,202 crimes and incidents of antisocial behaviour in the road between January and November last year.
Responding to Councillor Khan, Inspector Dent said: "It is a skew in the figures. The reason is that Albert Road South has four houses on it but the crime figures take in the ring road and the High Street."
Inspector Dent said that the short road also had large businesses on it such as Sainsbury’s and Oceana, which inflated the number of crimes recorded.
She added: "We have had this before and it has been an ongoing issue with the way they record the figures.
"It is really not the most dangerous road by any stretch."
Earlier at the meeting councillors had been shown figures from Hertfordshire Constabulary that indicated alcohol-related arrests in the central area of Watford were dropping.
The panel heard that between December 2009 and November 2010 police made 458 arrests in the town centre.
However the number dropped to 332 alcohol-related arrests in the same time period last year.
Inspector Dent told councillors that about 70 per cent of those arrested were people from Watford, with most of those arrested from outside the area coming from nearby London boroughs like Harrow, Barnet and Edgware.
Councillors were also told that eight people were currently banned from pubs and clubs in the town under the police’s "three strikes" system.
Councillor Rabi Martins, a Liberal Democrat who represents central Watford, said some of the crime-prevention initiatives and poster campaigns in the town were coming to an end and asked if this could lead to a rise in arrests.
However Inspector Dent said that many of the initiatives that had helped bring down arrests such as street pastors and taxi marshals were still ongoing.
She added: "To be honest I am not convinced that poster campaigns are that effective."