Safety improves in Suffolk resort

BANS imposed on revellers for alcohol-related incidents in Felixstowe's pubs and clubs are really hitting home – and helping make the resort safer at night.

BANS imposed on revellers for alcohol-related incidents in Felixstowe's pubs and clubs are really hitting home – and helping make the resort safer at night.

Organisers of the resort's Nightsafe scheme – which today celebrates its second anniversary – say culprits plead to be allowed back in to licensed premises, and few of them offend a second time.

The scheme bans a person connected to a drink-related incident inside or outside seafront bars from every licensed venue for three months to a year, depending on the seriousness of the behaviour.

So far 69 people have been barred by the project's banning committee, with around a dozen banned at any one time.

Nightsafe chairman Mark Moseley said: "We are very pleased indeed with the effectiveness of the bans – people know it can happen and so the behaviour has improved and number of incidents has dropped.

"Some of those who have been banned have found it has hit them really hard and we have literally had them pleading to be allowed back in to the pubs.

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"At first, they think it's OK and they will go off with their mates to Ipswich. But then they find their friends don't want to do that every week and prefer to stay in Felixstowe because that's where they want to be, it's easier to get home, cheaper and so on.

"The banned people want to be with their circle of friends and they find they are left out with nowhere to go and nothing to do."

When the ban comes to an end, the offender's behaviour is reviewed. If they have not tried to get into bars or been involved in any other drink-related incidents it will be lifted, though individual landlords still have a right to bar from their own premises.

Nightsafe secretary Pc Richard Durrant said the scheme was not just about the bans but premises working together to share information, a focus on under-age drinking, and tackling drugs with police providing landlords dealers' details.

"The scheme is about partnership and working together, and everyone involved just wants to make Felixstowe a safer place to be at night – so people can go out and not have a fear of becoming caught up in crime and feel safe," he said.

"If we can reduce alcohol-related crime, violence and disorder it will be a safe environment. We are pleased with the progress made during the first two years but we have to stay on the ball and are always looking at new ideas."

The Bandbox will be insisting on photo ID cards being shown from December as part of a new crackdown on under-age drinking. Later it will be introducing on-site searches and having a drugs and weapons amnesty box.

To mark the anniversary, Sue Powell, chairman of Felixstowe Crime Prevention Panel, presented the Bandbox with 40 personal safety alarms to be issued free to customers on a first-come first-serve basis in the run up to Christmas.

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