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Purge on late-night violence in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 09:15 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 06 July 2010

DOOR staff at Lowestoft's pubs and clubs could soon be wearing head-mounted cameras and given special training as part of major efforts to tackle late-night violence in the town.

DOOR staff at Lowestoft's pubs and clubs could soon be wearing head-mounted cameras and given special training as part of major efforts to tackle late-night violence in the town.

The news comes after Lowestoft was indentified this week as one of three areas in Suffolk where 'Serious Violence in a Public Place' (SVIAPP) poses a major problem.

Latest crime figures show that most serious violent crime in the town is now down 5pc year on year.

But police and council chiefs are keen to further improve these figures, and a multi-agency group has been set up to ensure that Lowestoft remains a safe place to spend a night out.

The Local Tasking Group, which will meet bi-monthly, brings together all the key agencies - Suffolk police, Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Fire Service and the local PCT.

Ideas being looked at include providing 'head-cams' for door staff, special 'resolution/conflict training' for bar staff and encouraging local pubs and clubs to join the national Best Bar None award scheme.

Supt Andy Quantrell, of Suffolk police, told The Journal: “The latest figures have shown most serious violent crime is now down 5pc year on year, and generally Lowestoft remains a safe place to go for a night out. However we have a target to reduce serious violent crime in a public place linked to alcohol or drugs and we will only be able to achieve this through partnership working.

He added: “It is recognised that Lowestoft, as the second biggest town in Suffolk, is a key area for the night time economy and police are working closely with the district council, licensees and other partners, including health agencies, to address issues around violent crime and rowdy and inconsiderate anti-social behaviour, which is also down by around 7pc.”

He said the Local Tasking Group was considering a number of ideas. “The group are sitting down to see what measures might help reduce serious violent crime and make the town safer, as well as reducing the numbers requiring health care through drink and violence-related incidents,” said Supt Quantrell.

“A number of measures have already been put in place - including the Town Pastors Scheme, close liaison between police and licensees via the ongoing Nightsafe scheme and police head cams - and more are set to follow.

“Suffolk Police's night time economy team - a team of officers dedicated to tackling violent crime through high visibility patrols and early intervention - have been joining local officers on regular patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, and will be here this Saturday, as we are committed to working with our partners to reduce problems associated with the night time economy.”

In an annual report of the Waveney Community Safety Partnership - to be delivered to councillors at the community safety, health, wellbeing scrutiny sub-committee meeting next Wednesday - councillor Mary Rudd says that across Suffolk there is a “push” to address violence in the night time economy.

The report confirms that Lowestoft is one of three places in Suffolk where 'Serious Violence in a Public Place' (SVIAPP) poses a major problem.

Cllr Rudd says recent figures show most cases of night time violence in Suffolk is committed by “young white males between the ages of 19-24,” but this group is also the “biggest victims” as well.

“Statistics show that this particular area is increasing and more work needs to be done countywide and also locally,” Cllr Rudd says. “It is hoped that some of the task group's work that comes out of the Action Plan will be completed in time for the World Cup period in June.”

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “Partnership working is the key to success in tackling violence and anti-social behaviour. While figures show that crime is down, we are working closely with the police, sharing important skills and knowhow, to improve these figures still further.

“Together, as part of the Community Safety partnership we are introducing a range of new initiatives, such as the Town Pastor Scheme, which we believe will not only reduce crime, but also the fear of crime.”

What do you think should be done to combat serious violent crime in Lowestoft? Will head cams help in preventing trouble from flaring? Write to The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1NB or e-mail mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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