Top police officer backs calls for licensing reviews

Supt Norman Mellors
Supt Norman Mellors
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PORTSMOUTH’S new top policeman is backing calls for a review of late-night drinking in a bid to quell alcohol-fuelled crime.

Superintendent Norman Mellors, who has just taken charge of policing in the city, has also raised concerns about the number of licensed premises in Portsmouth.

It comes as a Freedom of Information request by The News reveals 406 crimes were reported in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Walk last year.

Of those, 233 were violent offences which resulted in 118 people being injured due to an assault.

Superintendent Mellors said: ‘I remain concerned about the number of licensed premises contained within the city.

‘I welcome proposals to review and possibly shorten licensing hours, especially where there is a history of trouble at individual premises.

‘The impact of licensed premises continuing to operate, in some cases, to 4am, is significant.’

Mr Mellors hailed steps in place to cut crime in the area including Street Pastors, the News-backed Drink Safe campaign, late-night Safe Space clinic to treat revellers, a fake ID crackdown and the new One Punch Can Kill campaign.

Mr Mellors said police would continue to use these and other tactics, but said said more action may be needed to tackle late night crime in the city.

‘We just want the most professionally-run licensed night-time economy we can get.’

He added: ‘The support of the community is essential but the motivation is always to prevent innocent people, who want to enjoy a night out in Portsmouth, from becoming a victim of crime.

‘Officers locally know that alcohol-fuelled crime is one of our highest priorities.’