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City centre drink crackdown getting results, say police
11:46am Monday 2nd September 2013 in News
A clampdown on the scourge of street drinkers in Bradford city centre is getting results.
The number of nuisance drinkers in City Park has been cut dramatically. Police have only had to confiscate alcohol from two people in the award-winning visitor attraction since the beginning of April, compared to 41 confiscations in the 12 months before that.
Drinking in City Park is not illegal, but when it becomes anti-social, police have powers to seize alcohol and banish people for a set amount of time.
Despite City Park hosting large events, officers have also had to ask only one person to leave since April, compared to 17 evictions in the previous 12 months.
Inspector Victoria Lawrance, of the City neighbourhood policing team, said the results were “fantastic” and reflected a wider trend of falling crime across the whole of the city centre. She said that two officers were in City Park between 3.30pm and 9.30pm each day and “under no circumstances” were taken away.
She said: “As you can see, the City team have been working really hard to achieve these fantastic results. “I am very proud of their dedication and their determination to make the city a safer place to live, shop and work.
“It disappoints me when people say Bradford is a dangerous place and not to come here, because the figures we are turning out are phenomenal. “You can’t put crime reduction down to one thing, it is a combination of factors and includes changing officers shifts to get a bigger concentration when we need it.
“Street drinkers are not causing a large amount of problems and the amount we have in City Park is very low in terms of crime and antisocial behaviour.”
Councillor Imran Hussain, Bradford Council’s executive member for safer and stronger communities, welcomed what he called “positive progress”.
He said as well as the Council and the police, the visitors themselves were playing an important part in keeping anti-social behaviour out of City Park.
He said: “The atmosphere in the city centre shows that everybody’s there to enjoy themselves, especially around the City Park area.”
His colleague Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for culture, denied City Park had been attracting nuisance drinkers.
Across the City ward as a whole, including Little Germany, Great Horton and area around Bradford University, police confiscated alcohol from drinkers 228 times and asked 60 people to move on between April, 2012, and April, 2013.
But since then, they have only had to make 13 confiscations and asked 14 people to move on.
Alcohol-related crime across the city centre is also falling.
Five years ago, from April, 2008, to April, 2009, there were 410 crimes categorised as ‘alcohol-related’ and 240 drunk and disorderly offences.
From April, 2012, to April, 2013, this had more than halved, to 137 and 111 respectively.
The clampdown on street drinkers began in 2011 with a six-month partnership called Operation Sacred, which saw anti-social behaviour reduced by half and drink-related violence reduced by 44 per cent.
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