Police review clubbing policing after heavy cuts

A busy Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth
A busy Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth
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SENIOR police officers have been told they can move officers away from night-time clubbing spots across the county in a scheme already being run in Portsmouth.

For more than a year, units previously parked in Guildhall Walk have been deployed elsewhere responding to 999 calls across the city.

Now other policing districts bosses have been told they can to follow suit.

The move has been welcomed by Hampshire Police Federation after the force received £80m cuts.

John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman, said he has been calling for changes to clubbing policing to alleviate ‘intolerable’ pressure on 999 response officers.

He said: ‘The past 12 months have seen some intolerable pressure placed on response officers this past summer we saw officers working forced overtime.

‘There were simply not enough officers to do the job and this, in some cases, left officers vulnerable.

‘Particularly, the problem is that officers were being dragged away to cover nighttime economy policing, which in some cases wasn’t even required.

‘I’ve called on the constabulary to review how it polices the night-time economy because it’s clear from the officers who I speak to day in day out the current model is not sustainable and there needs to be a reduction.’

Mr Apter said he was ‘sad’ to say this but change was needed due to the cuts.

Chief Inspector Jim Pegler, of Portsmouth police, confirmed resources in the city were not being cut.

He said: ‘In Portsmouth, the force works with partners to forecast in advance what the weekends ahead are going to offer in relation to demand.

‘During busy times of year for club-goers, such as halloween and the pay-day weekend, we will increase our resources in the area.

‘On low demand days, officers have more freedom to carry out other work in the city.’

He said police meet Pubwatch and military police to forecast demand and risk.

‘We are trying to be smarter with our approach to resourcing the night time economy; there is not going to be a mass withdrawal of resources,’ Ch Insp Pegler said.

Cllr Julie Bird, licensing committee chair at Portsmouth City Council, said cuts have left fewer officers in the city generally but there should be no compromise.

‘We still need that sort of presence,’ Cllr Bird said.