Brighton's reputation for tackling boozy bad behaviour scoops award

Posted On 03 Jun 2010 at 8:05 am

The police, council and other bodies in Brighton and Hove have won a national award for jointly tackling drink-related anti-social behaviour.

The two bodies have scooped top prize in the Partnership category of the Reputation Awards, which recognise work to improve local authorities’ reputation, following a package of measures aimed at managing the night-time economy.

While pubs and bars are vital for the tourist trade, spin-off problems mean the city has one of the highest levels of drunken anti-social behaviour.

The award-winning package of initiatives includes Operation Marble, with high-visibility police patrols to set an orderly tone from early evening.

Operation Nightsafe uses a system of yellow or red football-style cards to warn or penalise people over bad behaviour.

Safe Space is a scheme through which YMCA volunteers at St Paul’s Church in West Street offer first aid or support to revellers.

Other examples include taxi marshals keeping order at cab ranks, which can often become flashpoints for arguments or fights.

Transport initiatives to get people safely home include real-time service information signs at bus stops and the only commercially viable all-night buses outside London.

A strict approach to licensing has meant eight pubs or clubs with a record of anti-social behaviour have had their licences suspended or revoked.

As a result violent crime in public places has fallen to a ten-year low.

Complaints about noise from licensed premises are also down.

In 2009 the city won government Beacon Status for the way it manages the night-time economy.

The initiative has been backed by the city’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership. This comprises the council, emergency services, health services, businesses, housing associations and voluntary bodies.

These agree that alcohol is a major factor in crimes, including domestic and sexual abuse.

Councillor Mary Mears, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “It’s a classic case of public bodies getting together to solve problems.

“Rather than sitting back and leaving the police to deal with crime and drunkenness, the council and other bodies have joined in to see how they can help prevent it.”

Chief Inspector Simon Nelson, of Sussex Police, said: “The council and police teams have been united in their dedication to the city and a determination to shape sustained improvements.

“There is still plenty of good work to do but we now have a safer and more diverse night-time economy which is accessible to all.”

The awards are organised by LG Comms, the national umbrella group for council communications.

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