3:08pm Wednesday 6th February 2013
By Jamie McDougall
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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