Labour’s shadow Home Office minister called for councils to be given more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour during a visit to the heart of Norwich’s clubland.

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Steve Reed took a walk down Prince of Wales Road this afternoon with the leader of Norwich City Council, Brenda Arthur, and prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, Jess Asato, to learn about the issues facing the city’s night time economy.

The shadow minister, with responsibility for anti-social behaviour and youth offending, said some of the powers at local authority disposal to crackdown on pubs, clubs and bars that are not doing enough to clampdown on misbehaving customers were too “bureaucratic.”

Mr Reed said authorities needed to strike the right balance between ensuring that clubbers enjoy themselves, but do not disturb local residents. He added that he was encouraged to see the city council was drawing up measures to help improve safety on Prince of Wales Road.

A lot of the problems experienced here are the similar to other city centres. They need power to take fast action against venues that are not cooperating and dealing with issues of misconduct, they need to coordinate CCTV so there is better cooperation between private and council CCTV operators and some cities are looking at a night time levy where they raise additional funds to bring in wardens or PSCOs. They need more powers to nip problems in the bud before they become more critical,” he said.

There have been a number of high profile incidents in Prince of Wales Road in recent months, including an altercation that led to a police officer breaking a leg.

Brenda Arthur, city council leader, said the authority was looking at a number of measures to combat anti-social behaviour.

“We have been listening to what local residents have told us. We think it is safer than it was and there was a time when bars and clubs were staying open later and clubbers used to clash with people going to work. It has changed dramatically since there was a voluntary agreement on closing early. We can do better and we are putting measures in place.”

“The night time economy brings money into the city and we are delighted that people recognise that Norwich is a great place to come and we want to make sure people enjoy themselves in a safe environment,” she said.

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