Festive crackdown cuts violent crime

PLEASED: Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin

PLEASED: Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin

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POLICE hope to continue the success of an operation to make drinking spots safer for revellers.

Incidents of violent crime in Hartlepool’s pubs and clubs fell by 63 per cent during the busy festive period.

Police say they will now carry on working alongside their partner agencies, such as the council and landlord associations, to continue to clampdown on unruly behaviour throughout 2013.

There were six violent offences that took place in and around licensed premises between December 23 and January 1 compared to 16 for the same period the previous year.

Officers hail the drop in violent crime to various agencies working together to target offenders and people being more aware of the consequences of causing trouble, such as being locked up for the night and having a criminal record.

But figures also show that there was an increase in theft during the same nights out, mainly from handbags, to six, compared to just the one 12 months earlier.

Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin, who leads response policing in Hartlepool, said that work to reduce levels of violence and theft with revellers will continue in 2013 with partners and licensees.

He added: “A great deal of work has been done to prevent incidents from taking place and to bring perpetrators to justice and while any incident of violent crime is one too many, I am pleased that this has been reduced.

“Alcohol-fuelled violence can have major repercussion on people’s lives and can put a strain on resources such as accident and emergency wards.

“By reducing these levels of violence we can ensure that Hartlepool remains a safe and enjoyable place to visit.

“The rise in theft is a concern and we would ask people to support us in reducing this crime by ensuring that their belongings remain with them at all times and that they are secure.

“Those under the influence of alcohol who are preoccupied with their night out are easy targets for thieves.

“Total crime is down across Cleveland and we will work with partners with the aim of making an impact on this further.”