Crackdown of troublemakers

TROUBLEMAKERS high on drink, drugs, or the adrenaline of violence are being targeted by landlords and club owners.

Felix Star splash for Wednesday July 3

TROUBLEMAKERS high on drink, drugs, or the adrenaline of violence are being targeted by landlords and club owners.

In Felixstowe revellers who misbehave will be banned from every pub and club under a major new scheme to crackdown on drugs, drunkenness and disorder at the seaside resort.

Meanwhile the chairman of Ipswich's Pubwatch scheme has called for thugs barred from pubs to be named and shamed on posters.

Felixstowe's club owners and publicans are joining forces with the police to launch the scheme to rid the town of violence and push out the pushers following a series of incidents, it was revealed today.

The seafront area has become one of the county's top ten trouble hotspots in recent years, but it is hoped Nightsafe will clean up the area and help attract people to enjoy its nightlife.

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Licensees will now be able to bar bad behaviour customers – and if they are banned from one pub or club, they will be barred from them all.

Photographs of convicted drug pushers will also be given to management of the premises to help them spot the troublemakers in advance.

Special radios will link all the licensed premises so that details of any trouble, drunks or drug pushers can be passed swiftly to all landlords and doormen.

New initiatives will also be carried out to deal with under-age drinking.

Police have helped set up Nightsafe, which is to be officially launched tomorrow , but the scheme is being run by the licensees in partnership with beat officers, community leaders and council officers.

A committee has been set up to manage the project and a small "banning group" will consider cases where people will be refused entry at all premises and how long a ban should be served.

Speaking at a meeting to set up the scheme, Felixstowe police commander Insp Andy Bushell said: "We all have a part to play in wanting to get rid of the disorder, drunkenness and drugs from our town.

"We all have an interest to make sure Felixstowe is a safe place for residents to live in and enjoy, and to promote as a safe place where people can come to spend their money and have a good time.

"We do not want it to become a place synonymous with drunkenness, violence or easy access to drugs."

He was pleased with the way the scheme had been accepted by the licensees and other partners, and how they had taken control of the project and its operation.

Over the past few years there have been a growing number of disorder incidents in the seafront area, mainly involving people leaving clubs and pubs. In one incident, a police officer was injured.

Vandalism has also increased with a huge bill to the taxpayer.

The "banned from one banned from all" policy will come into force straight away with the committee given details about individuals who have caused problems inside or outside licensed premises, including vandalism, fighting or rowdiness in the town where drink has been a factor.

The person concerned will be sent a letter and then their details will be circulated to all premises.

In the cases of known drug offenders, police will be able to distribute details of the person and photographs to the premises so staff can watch out for them.

The clampdown on teenage drinking will be targeted at mainly 13 to 14s who have been found "binge drinking" and causing nuisance and damage. Licensees will be encouraged to take part in ID schemes to stop the teens buying alcohol.

In Ipswich posters of violent thugs will go up in pubs around the town if landlords get their way.

provoked calls for tighter security from the 37-member Pubwatch scheme.

Chairman of the town's 37-member Pubwatch Scheme Michael Collins who is landlord of PJ McGinty in Northgate Street, called for a campaign similar to The Evening Star's Christmas drink-drive name and shame campaign.

Mr Collins said: "The naming and shaming has worked very well with the Christmas drink and drive campaign. We are hoping, in the light of the recent fight at Cardinal Park last week, and with the help of the Evening Star, to apply it to pubs as well."

Currently a "Star Chamber" of publicans meets privately to circulate the names of convicted thugs among themselves.

The committee decides on a ban, usually six months or a year but maybe life in the case of the most violent offenders.

But licensing officer Bob Coleman warned the action may contravene the Data Protection Act.

N See Opinion page six…

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