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  • "Everyone seems to want the buck from central gov, to local gov, to parents, to the education system, the legal system, the licensing laws, supermarkets, etc.
    The big question those in authority should be asking is whether their policies have led to the establishment of a culture which accepts that part of a young person's right of passage is to spend their weekend in an alcoholic fuelled environment and that is all there is to life? The lack of respect for public property as shown by smashed bus shelters, the public urination verbally and physically, and thow away fast food packaging all testify how far we've lost our way. If we don't close the door we risk opening Pandora's Box. WBC has to take a lead and rebalance the night time economy - and I don't mean to 3am - to a more child / family environment."
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Mayor Dorothy Thornhill to tackle alcohol related crime in Watford

First published in Latest Blogs
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Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by

Alcohol related arrests in Watford Town Centre have increased by almost a third in the past year, but Mayor Dorothy Thornhill plans to halt the rise. 

Figures gathered from a Freedom of Information request showed that alcohol related arrests in Watford Town Centre rose almost 34% in 2012 from the previous year. 

Watford’s Mayor is trying to reduce crime at night in the town centre by deploying several techniques. 

She said: “When we thought that things weren’t good enough in the town centre, the police toughened up. Over Christmas we did try a tougher policing regime including dogs and horses. We even used drones that only young people can hear as it causes irritation to the ear which makes people disperse.” 

“We are also re-introducing a policy that if people come into town already intoxicated, the police will send them back and they will receive a fixed penalty notice on the spot.”

Thornhill had praise for Oceana nightclub after comparing them to Watford’s other nightclub Area, which had its licence revoked towards the end of last year.

“Oceana deal with crime much better. If the police or our licensing officers say ‘jump’, then Oceana says ‘how high?’ Area said ‘why?’ That was the main difference.”

In Watford, on average 50% of alcohol related arrests in 2012 were of people whom live outside of Hertfordshire which was of concern to the Mayor.

Thornhill plans to stop people from outside of Hertfordshire coming back to Watford’s nightlife and re-offending.

“We do ban people from bars and clubs so we have a ‘banned from one, banned from all’ ethos. Its new thing we’re trying.”

The Mayor did admit that no matter how hard they try, there will always be crime in the town centre at night when alcohol is involved.

“We have reduced crime and done all that we can but a hard core remains which we appear not to be able to crack. For me as Mayor the question is, ‘If you have thousands of people between the ages of 18 and 24 gathered together in a very small area, are you always going to get a certain amount of offences?’ The intention is to work on this hard core and hope we can make a significant reduction.”

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