Police film booze-fuelled youths

CHRIS BISHOP Police in Norfolk are among the first in the country to be armed with the latest weapon in the battle to curb drink-related disorder.

CHRIS BISHOP

Police in Norfolk are among the first in the country to be armed with the latest weapon in the battle to curb drink-related disorder.

Officers patrolling King's Lynn's town centre pubs and clubs are being equipped with head cams to film anti social behaviour and deter troublemakers.

Those who overstep the mark and end up in the cells may even be confronted with video footage of their antics the following day.

The £750 cameras are being funded by West Norfolk's Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), which has also launched a Nightsafe scheme.

Police in Lynn are working closely with licensees and agencies like Norfolk Trading Standards to nip problems in the bud.

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Patrolling officers are also armed with Alcoblow devices, so suspected under-age drinkers can be breathalised on the spot.

Sgt Paul Graves said: “We reckon on a busy night 2,000 people come into town and go to venues like the Globe, Chicago Rock Cafe and Zoots.

“The message we are trying to promote to people coming to King's Lynn for a night out is that you are welcome and we encourage a vibrant night time economy.

“However the small minority that can not behave themselves will be dealt with quickly to prevent them from spoiling anyone else's night out.”

Sgt Graves said the head cams were proving an effective deterrent as officers made regular visits to Lynn's packed town centre pubs.

“When we make people aware that they're being filmed, it has a greater impact when we can show them their behaviour,” he said.

“If someone is arrested on an evening, it would be evidential and it would be shown to them the next day.”

While the cameras are being piloted in Lynn, officers patrolling Dereham, Thetford and other towns could also soon be equipped with them.

Police and licensees teamed up to launch a Pubwatch scheme covering Lynn town centre in January.

“We deal direct with landlords so they can advise us of any issues and we can help them deal with any problems,” said Sgt Graves. “We're all working together to make Lynn a better place when you're going out.”

Licensees have welcomed the closer co-operation, increased foot patrols and regular visits from Sgt Graves and his colleagues.

James Chipping, manager of the Globe Hotel, off Lynn's Tuesday Market Place,

said: “I've worked for Wetherspoon's for 10 years and Wetherspoon's has always worked pro-actively with the police.

“It helps to have that presence and a united front between the night time economy and the police.”

Sergios Sergiou , manager of Chicago Rock Cafe, in Norfolk Street, said: “Any contact with the police is good. We have a good partnership, any issues we have, we thrash them out.

“From our point of view, the relationship's got better. We're going to defuse a lot of situations before they arise.”

Shatter-proof polycarbonate glasses and ashtrays have been installed at Chicago's. A queue barrier to help prevent revellers spilling into the street will be going up shortly.

Test-purchases of alcohol by young volunteers will be carried out soon in Norfolk, as part of a national crack-down on under-age drinking.

Sgt Graves said landlords who slipped up three times in as many months risked losing their licences.

He said anyone who wanted more information on Pubwatch or Nightsafe, or who had information they wished to pass to the police about concerns such as under age drinking should call him at King's Lynn police station, on 0845

456 4567.