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News - 4 March 2009

Brighton & Hove is named best at managing night economy

Brighton & Hove has been named as a national centre of excellence for managing drinking and licensed premises in city centres. The City Council, Sussex Police and the Business Forum’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) and other local partners were awarded Beacon Status for managing the night-time economy by the government at a ceremony in Westminster last night.

Success was based on a range of measures including better transport, providing alternatives to drink, working with young people, exchange of intelligence via the BCRP radio system and firm enforcement.

Current city policies were developed after the 2003 Licensing Act, which became law in 2005. This extended the hours licensed premises could sell alcohol but also introduced new powers to control unwanted side-effects of the law.

Among local measures which impressed the judges are:

  • BCRP NightSafe Scheme which includes a radio system linking licenced premises to allow them to exchange live intelligence and issue football-style red and yellow warning cards for trouble-makers excluding them from hundreds of pubs and bars
  • Closing rowdy pubs
  • Creating a central zone where new bars can be turned down where there are too many – the largest so-called Cumulative Impact Area outside London
  • High-profile policing; Operation Marble sees the police and PCSOs in hi-vis jackets in city centre hot-spots from 8pm
  • Staggered closing times for venues, meaning fewer people on the streets at once
  • Police and door supervisors sharing intelligence about hot issues
  • Setting the right tone: this has included using street performers dressed as lollipop patrols at taxi ranks, on one occasion handing out 600 condoms in a weekend
  • Special all-night buses to disperse crowds quickly
  • Safe Space – a drop-in centre in West Street for distressed young people.

The city has also been developing alternatives to the UK’s booze culture. It recently staged its first all-night White Night festival with alternative attractions to bars open all night. This included live bands playing in the city’s Jubilee library. Another White Night happens next October.

Authorities say the measures have resulted in fewer assaults involving injury. A survey in 2007 showed more people felt safe during the day and night compared to two years earlier.

What they say:

Council leader Mary Mears says said: “This shows the council and partners really changing things residents are concerned about. In a city largely dependent on visitors we need a vibrant nightlife. But it’s crucial we also manage that to protect residents from some negative effects and ensure local people and visitors are safe.”

Superintendent Jane Rhodes based at Brighton’s John Street station said: “Sussex Police are proud to work alongside the council and all relevant agencies, to properly manage the night time economy. We have all worked together to tackle the issues and continue to reduce crime and fear of crime across the city for residents and visitors alike."

Boss of Brighton & Hove Buses and chairman of the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Roger French said: “This is a great example of how partners working together really can make a difference and I am delighted to see this has been recognised by our successful bid for Beacon Status.”

Tony Mernagh, Chief Executive of the Brighton & Hove Business Forum which operates the Business Crime Reduction Partnership said: “Brighton & Hove is growing an enviable reputation for partnership working between the public and private sector. This award just demonstrates what can be achieved by people with common interests working together for the good of the city.”

Read related items on:
Anti-social behaviour
Violent Crime
Brighton & Hove Business Forum
Brighton & Hove City Council
Business Crime Reduction Partnership
Sussex Police

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