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Private firms to tackle drunken town centre behaviour?
5:00pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
PLANS to tackle drunken antisocial behaviour in Colchester town centre could include hiring a private security firm to issue on the spot fines for unruly revellers.
It is part of a plan which has been hatched which would see a group set up to tackle the town’s drinking culture.
Tim Young, borough councillor responsible for community safety, said using contractors would free up police to tackle more serious town centre antisocial behaviour.
He said: “There is a problem here and we need some radical thinking.
“It has got much worse since we last looked at it five years ago and it is a clear problem now.”
“One thing I would like to look at is employing a private security firm to come in of a weekend night.
“The idea would be to have them issuing on the spot fines for lower level crimes, freeing up police to deal with more serious issues.”
Colchester Council has already experimented by inviting security company Xfor to take part in a night of action, during which a number of fines were issued in the town centre.
Any company would have to be paid, but would also take a cut of the fines given out on the street.
Mr Young also said the group would look at cutting the amount of alcohol people drink before going out in the town centre.
He added: “I believe it is very much connected with pre-loading and we are seeing more and more people turn up in the town centre clearly intoxicated.
“We need to see more of people rolling up in taxis and being turned away from places. I think that will send a message.
“But it would be very difficult for places to do that across the board unless there is a licensing officer on every door and behind every bar, saying ‘this person is clearly intoxicated’.
“Pubs and clubs have to make a profit, but they have got to get tough and be more vigilant in who they serve alcohol to.”
Andy Starr, vice-chairman of Pub Watch, said he welcomed work on making the town centre safer, but said it is too easy to blame publicans for people drinking too much.
He said: “Pre-loading is a huge problem for us. It is the enemy of the licensed premises.
“We’re talking about adults here, they are people who during the day are responsible for themselves but all of a sudden when they are out late at night, they are someone else’s problem.
“As a result, the late-night economy can end up mopping up problems which have started elsewhere.
“There is a myth out there publicans are plying people with drink they don’t want. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
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