John McDermott, a City Centre Neighbourhood Forum committee member, is our resident representative on the Broad Street Business Improvement District (BID) board.
On Saturday 10th November, I and four other BID Directors took up an invitation from Commander Clive Burgess to join the local police team on their Night Time Economy Policing Operation. This involved a presentation at Steel House Lane, a visit to the custody suite, the control room and several walks-about and walk-throughs in Southside and on Broad Street over the period 21.30 Saturday evening to 03.30 on the Sunday morning.
The aim of the visit was to help BID Directors to further develop their understanding of the totality of the challenges faced in the BID area by all of us.
There has been a recent increase in front line officers on Broad Street, back to 2010 levels, which is allowing them to return to neighbourhood policing methods and to adopt a more proactive and zero tolerance approach to policing. Examples of proactive policing included:
- Briefing customers outside clubs on how not to become a victim of crime
- Using a triage ambulance on Broad Street to avoid tying-up officers in A&E.
- Issuing section 30 dispersal orders to ban troublemakers from the area
- Having available a mop and bucket for those taken short!
There were 23 criminal offences reported over the previous weekend, on Broad Street, with Walkabout and Gatecrasher, in particular, targeted for theft of mobile phones. The vast majority of the victims were young women having iPhones stolen. One other current city centre issue noted was the “free huggers” who used this technique to pickpocket the ‘hugged’.
Separate from this visit, but obviously related to Broad Street safety and policing issues, is the question of Funding of the Taxi Marshalls. A recent paper on the Taxi Marshal scheme outlined the value of the service and the need to ensure it was funded into the foreseeable future. The funding for next year will be in the hands of the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner. All the Commissioner candidates visited Broad Street before the election, and were shown, first-hand, the importance of the role of the Taxi Marshals. Lets hope funding can somehow be found.