Increase in Town Centre Crime – Why are they surprised?
The consultation on whether to impose ‘Early Morning Restriction Orders’ in Northampton to restrict the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am in areas where there are alcohol-related crime and disorder issues may not be the solution the Conservatives are claiming it will be.
One of the major causes of alcohol-related crime is when people especially young people are confined in small spaces which lead to an invasion of personal space and what in modern-day parlance is called inappropriate touching.
Where there is alcohol fuelled young men and women the end product is inevitably conflict.
In 2011 when Bridge Street was closed to traffic during the busiest times over the weekend it allowed people to have more space while they were moving between the clubs and pubs, a policy that saw crime and disorder fall by over 60%.
For the Conservative Leader of the Borough Council to now talk about the problems associated with Bridge Street when he was a member of the County Council Cabinet who against all of the advice from the police and Borough Council Community Safety teams made the decision to scrap the policy and re-open the street to traffic is the height of hypocrisy.
Cllr Mackintosh is quite right to say as he did in the Northampton Herald and Post (Thursday 7th February) that “We need to get a grip and reclaim our streets”, but it was his and his Conservative colleagues decisions that saw the streets lost in the first place.
If the Conservatives really believe in preventing crime and disorder why an earth did they support the scrapping of a policy that saw crime and disorder fall by 60%?
Why did he and his Conservative colleagues cut police funding by £600,000 which saw the Borough lose over 20 PCSO’s?
Why did he and his Conservative colleagues switch off and then remove over half of the streetlights across Northampton?
Why did he and his Conservative colleagues cut funding for CCTV monitoring in Northampton?
The fact is that the police have to carry out a difficult job while facing attacks from the Conservative – Lib Dem coalition in Westminster and the Conservatives locally.
Attacks that has seen crime increase in the six months between the cuts last May to November last year compared to the six months before the cuts were made.
It seems that the Conservatives have already made their mind up about introducing EMRO’s rather than admit that the increasing crime and disorder is because of their short-term, out-of-touch decision-making and are now looking to blame the pub and club businesses in Northampton Town Centre.
It may of course be something that if introduced will reduce crime and disorder in the town centre.
We will have to wait and see.
What is important is that the Conservatives start to listen to those who are the professionals, the pub and club owners, the police and the customers before introducing yet another policy without proper consultation.
What they should really do is reverse the decisions that have caused the problems in the first place by giving the police the resources they need to do their job and think again about effectively pedestrianizing areas of the town at specific times of the week.
So I will agree,
the Conservatives do need to
“Get a Grip and Reclaim the streets”