Crime drops in Portsmouth’s most violent street

Police arrest a man in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
Police arrest a man in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
JAILED Paul Nelson

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VIOLENCE has plummeted at a city nightspot thanks to a raft of steps to cut crime.

Guildhall Walk was last year branded the worst place in England and Wales for violence, according to the government’s crime reports website.

But new figures show reports of violent crime in the ‘priority area’ for city agencies – which includes nearby Stanhope and Commercial roads – have nose-dived.

Between April and September reports fell by a fifth to 206 compared to 259 last year.

The area is still classed as the worst in Portsmouth for late-night violence.

But figures are at their lowest since records started in 2006 – and city agencies say the work does not stop here.

San Van, night-time economy officer for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Violent crime in Guildhall Walk and the city centre as measured by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership reduced by 20 per cent between April and September 2012 against the same period last year and is still falling.

‘We believe this is as a direct result of increased partnership working from the licensees in this area.

‘The licensees have paid for and implemented a number of initiatives designed to reduce crime, for example, renewed funding of the taxi marshals, the “Barred from One Barred from All” campaign and a computerised ID scanning system. We are pleased with this progress and we will continue to work closely with licensees in Portsmouth.’

Superintendent Paul Brooks is policing commander of Portsmouth and in charge of licensing for Hampshire Constabulary.

He said the whole focus of agencies including, police, licensees, the city council and other emergency services is on reducing violent crime and victim numbers.

He added: ‘It’s not just a policing issue, it’s an across-the-board issue to ensure we maintain the safest place possible.

‘We work really closely with the council and licensees. Any particular licensed premises we feel is not taking its responsibilities seriously, we will get reviews where needed.’

Cllr Lynne Stagg, chairwoman of the Safer Portsmouth Partnership, said: ‘We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that this downward trend continues ensuring Portsmouth’s night-time economy can be a safe and welcoming place for people to enjoy.’

Licensees in bid to help improve area

A RAFT of steps have been introduced in a bid to reduce alcohol-related crime and violence in the Guildhall Walk area of Portsmouth.

Licensees have worked with police, the council and others to improve the area and its reputation.

Measures include improving lighting outside their venues and introducing body-worn cameras for bouncers at all but three venues.

All venues that were part of the taxi marshal scheme have signed up to continue funding the project.

Most businesses have now introduced a system to electronically scan and record ID, more plastic and polycarbonate glasses are being used and all venues have vowed to ban irresponsible drinks promotions.

A ‘challenge 25’ policy is in place at all venues and there are more patrols inside venues to check customers are behaving responsibly and look out for potential troublespots.

And street marshals patrol unsupervised areas including parts of King Henry I Street and Guildhall Square on Friday and Saturday nights.