December 4 2013 Latest news:
Monday, August 19, 2013
Calls have been made for a ‘stakeholders forum’ to be launched in the Prince of Wales Road area of the city so that bar and club owners can come together to discuss issues arising from late-night drinking.
The bar-lined street, once dubbed the most dangerous in Norfolk by a senior police officer, has come back into the spotlight following the start of a public consultation into the use of so-called early morning restriction orders (EMROs) which would see the sale of alcohol banned between 3am and 6am between Mondays and Friday and 3.45am and 6am on Saturdays and Sundays in the city centre.
Police, who are keen to see EMROs put in place, released shocking CCTV footage of drunk people brawling in Prince of Wales Road to the early hours of the morning to demonstrate the problems with which they are faced.
But the release of the footage coincided with a large-scale disturbance in the road which broke out at about 3am on Sunday, August 4, resulting in 10 people being arrested prompting police to last week issue an ‘our city is safe’ message to put at ease those people heading to Norwich for a night out.
Ben Price, a Green Party Norwich city councillor, whose Thorpe Hamlet ward includes the Prince of Wales Road area, has now called for the launch of a “stakeholders’ forum” to ensure that issues can be discussed between local people, the police, council officers and, crucially, the licensees of late-night entertainment venues.
He said: “This would be a positive way forward: such a forum would be a way in which the late-night drinking problems in Norwich can be addressed on a forward-looking basis. Representatives of the police and other stakeholders have already expressed interest in taking part in such a forum.”
Nick De’Ath, chairman of the Norwich Licensing Forum has also previously made a plea for bar and club owners in the area to get together to have a dialogue about the problems they face and has written to a nightclub boss in the area to see if he would be prepared to chair such a meeting.
Andrew Boswell, a Green Party county councillor and member of the Police and Crime Panel, said: “The licensing system which has led to huge problems in the Prince of Wales Road area has been largely driven by short-term commercial pressures without considering the wider issues. The police have been picking up the pieces for too long and the riot last week was really no surprise.
“Our policing resources are under extreme financial pressure and we must start solving this issue, now, through improving the licensing regime.”