Police were out in force in Norwich’s clubland at the weekend, as part of an operation aimed at tackling problems caused by irresponsible drinking and encouraging sensible behaviour.

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Norfolk Constabulary’s Operation Impact II saw about 80 officers covering the length and breath of Prince of Wales Road and Riverside on Saturday night.

The aim was to make people in the area, whether clubbers, pub-goers, residents or people just passing through, feel safer.

Officers also talked to venue owners and security staff about how they work together to reduce anti-social behaviour and theft inside and outside bars and clubs.

With decent weather, many people having just picked up their monthly pay packet and Mercy nightclub showing off its recent revamp, it was a busy night in Prince of Wales Road.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, joined the police on their patrols between 9pm and 1.30am and was full of praise for the initiative.

She said: “It showed the extent of work which goes on between the police, the security staff and the responsible venue owners and how they can control trouble outside and inside the clubs.

“The objectives were to keep order, encourage responsible behaviour and to protect the vulnerable, which included some of those who had gone out for the night as well as those who live nearby and people caught up in incidents as bystanders.

“It was a very busy night for a combination of reasons, with the lovely weather, people having just been paid and the re-opening of Mercy, so there were a lot of people on the streets. By 11pm the streets were packed and that continued until midnight.”

Accompanied by a pair of senior police officers, Miss Smith visited the SOS bus, which she praised for its excellent work and went down to Riverside.

On the way back up Prince of Wales Road she witnessed a fight break out close to the Mattressman shop.

She said: “The two senior officers I was with reacted very quickly and were joined by other offices. It showed me how quickly things can happen, because it was two groups of young people, who must have been in their early 20s.

“There were at least four young men fighting in the street, having moved off the pavement, so that shows one of the dangers.

“Those were people who went out for the night and ended up in the back of a police van, yet it could have been avoided if people had behaved responsibly.”

Miss Smith said she hoped the introduction of minimum pricing on alcohol, which the government is consulting over, would stop people ‘pre-loading’ on alcohol bought cheaply in supermarkets and off licences before heading into the city centre.

She pointed out that places such as Prince of Wales Road did have an important role to play in the city’s economy and that people needed to drink responsibly.

• Do you have a crime story? Call Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@

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