Revellers are safe during a night out in Watford, a top policeman has said in a bid to shake off the town’s historical reputation for trouble.

Chief Inspector Dave Wheatley said violence related directly to the night time economy has continued to fall over the last two years.

But despite that, Watford’s evening economy still gets linked to violence – a tag police are keen to consign to the history books.

Ch Insp Wheatley said: “We have a thriving and bustling night time economy, yet it is always seemingly linked to violence – which is simply no longer the case. That is not Watford’s night time economy.

“We do get reports of minor assaults in town, as you get everywhere, but violence related to the night economy has almost disappeared.

“Watford has this historical reputation built on old perceptions but it is a good place to have a night out and people feel safe here now.”

Ch Insp Wheatley said his officers worked closely with Pub Watch and teams such as the Street Angels to ensure revellers are safe.

There is also a high-visibility police presence on popular nights out.

Police and Watford Borough Council licensing officers observed staff at The Wishing Well pub in St Albans Road selling alcohol to minors last month, which resulted in two members of staff being sacked and one disciplined.

Ch Insp Wheatley said police are not actively looking to catch out pubs and bars but they will get tough if evidence is put before them.

He said: “We have a good relationship with the licensees and we don’t want to be seen to be stopping their business, but this is how we work and providing they cooperate with us that is fine.

“But if information is presented to us then clearly we will target and deal with those licensees and the pubs in the town.”