August 1 2014 Latest news:
By PETER WALSH
Friday, August 3, 2012
A host of Norwich nightclubs will call time on late-night drinking this weekend in a bid to combat violent crime in the city.
Venues on Prince of Wales Road have voluntarily agreed to stop selling alcohol at 4am to help tackle rising night-time related violence and anti-social behaviour.
It comes just months before the introduction of new licensing laws giving local authorities greater powers to restrict the sale of alcohol in pubs and clubs in the early hours.
Paul Marks, manager at Mercy XL, part of Peri’s Leisure together with Rocco’s and Pulse, said the club, which did not have any major issues, was happy to help. He said: “It’s just a gesture from us to keep everyone happy and if it helps in the bigger picture then we will help out where we can.”
Senior officers from the police and city council have been working closely with licensees to improve safety in the night-time economy – with the early hour availability of alcohol being recognised as a key factor to disorder.
Superintendent Paul Sanford, Norwich policing commander, welcomed the move and said he was “grateful” to the owners of the pubs and clubs for taking “positive action”.
He said: “Problems around violent crime and anti-social behaviour in the night time economy will not be solved without this sort of commitment. The police, local authority and licensees need to work together to ensure Norwich is a safe place to enjoy a night out.
“I’m pleased that some venues are taking responsibility and the action ultimately shows they understand the supply of alcohol well into the early hours is a contributing factor in violent crime and disorder.”
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “As the licensing authority, the city council, is happy to support the police in this collaborative work to promote the licensing objectives and to encourage a night time economy which is both thriving and safe.”
nNorwich North MP Chloe Smith has met with the leaders of Best Bar None, a national award scheme, aimed at helping to make the city a safer night out. She said: “I was very interested to learn more about the scheme. I’m impressed by the training which the scheme offers and by the standards which it seeks to uphold for Norwich venues. I would welcome more venues to consider entering.”