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8 April 2011, 10:57 | Updated: 8 April 2011, 11:00
Students at the University of Northampton thought that violence should be a top priority for police in the town, and that prevention is the key to tackling the issue.
A focus group from the university took part in the joint Police Authority and Northamptonshire Police consultation exercise, which found that anti-social behaviour, violence and alcohol-related crime and disorder were the main concerns of the Northampton.
Together with partners within the Community Safety Partnership, the police will be aiming for significant reductions in response to the findings that have been published in the Police Authority’s Local Policing Plan (2011 to 2015).
Crime in Northampton has fallen by almost 10 per cent in the year up to March 31 (down 9.2 per cent, from 22261 crimes to 20222, year on year).
This includes a small reduction in violence (down 0.4 per cent – from 4348 to 4329, year on year) but the students still felt that more could be done.
A snapshot of comments from the consultation exercise is as follows:-
• “more work needs to be done to prevent violence with injury in night clubs. People who are asked to leave clubs because of fighting re-enter clubs so the people who commit violence do it on and on again.”
• “in town centres the issue is alcohol, so police should work with landlords and the council to stop people getting drunk in the first place.”
• “violence with injury could be prevented by having more officers in areas prone to violent behaviour, or imposing harsher punishments on those who are violent towards others.”
Chief Inspector Dave Lawson, Community Safety chief inspector, is the lead for Operation Nightsafe.
Nightsafe – the countywide campaign to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder – is taking a robust approach to tackling violent crime which is influenced by alchol.
He said: “We have adopted a strong partnership approach to this problem in Northampton and the other leisure zones in the county and we will respond to specific concerns.
“This consultation exercise enables us to shape an appropriate policing response and I particularly welcome any feedback on the alcohol-related crime and disorder that we experience, in particular if it comes from young people who regularly drink in our town centres.
“We are robustly dealing with those who fail to fulfil their responsibilities around licensing and under-age drinking.
“But to those youngsters out drinking, please remember that drinking to excess can very quickly wipe the smile off your face, and those of other people who are out for a good time.
“Binge drinking leads to anti-social behaviour and can leave you vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.
“It will almost certainly leave you feeling rotten the following day and, in the longer term, it can potentially leave you with an addiction or serious health problems.”
Commenting on the consultation and the year ahead, Deirdre Newham, Chair of the Police Authority, said: “In common with many organisations in the public sector, a major challenge faced by the Police Authority and Force is the significant cuts in public spending outlined by the Government.
“However, the ‘Team Northamptonshire’ approach is still very much alive and we recognise that the best way to get through these challenging times is by us all pulling together.”
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “Our communities need a police service which is run as efficiently and effectively as any private business and be able to demonstrate this to them.
“We will become more transparent, more accountable and above all else will deliver exceptional service to those who need us.”