POLICE are continuing the war against trouble-makers in Hartlepool’s most drunken street after new figures revealed at least 23 yobs have to be dealt with each weekend.
Hartlepool Police officers dealt with 1,219 revellers in the town’s Church Street in the last year, with 676 arrests for being drunk and disorderly, and 543 boozers being slapped with direction to leave orders.
This was a 21 per cent rise on the previous year, from July 2009 to July 2010, when 667 people were arrested for drunk and disorderly offences, and 339 were hit with directions to leaves, a total of 1,006.
However, despite the growing numbers, police have implemented a string of tactics to clear thugs from the hub of Hartlepool’s night-time economy on busy Friday and Saturday nights.
Chief Inspector Kathy Prudom said: “A great deal of work has been done to reduce anti-social behaviour in relation to alcohol misuse across the town.
“The only people who should be fearful of the work we are doing are those who go into the town with the sole intention of causing crime and disorder as they will see themselves brought before the courts.
“Our operations will obviously bring more arrests and direction to leave notices as we work more proactively and robustly to hold people to account.”
She added: “My message to visitors of Hartlepool’s night-time economy is to enjoy your evening safely and responsibly in the knowledge that we have clamped down on offenders, but my message to those who continue to flout the law is that we will not hesitate to take action.”
The measures to tackle alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour and crime in Church Street and the surrounding area include:
l A campaign called Operation Respect to deal with nuisances in the town centre, which led to an increase in arrests and direction to leave notices being issued;
l CCTV to alert officers and door staff to incidents before they escalate;
l Taxi marshalls from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) help run a scheme which urges revellers to queue for a fully-licensed taxi in a designated area of Church Street on Saturday nights between midnight and 5am, to help people get home more quickly and safely, and prevents lone women wandering the streets looking for cabs;
l A road closure was put in place on Saturdays overnight which improves safety and makes it pedestrianised;
l radios have been introduced to bars and clubs in the Church Street area to allow staff to have a direct link with police officers to alert them to any trouble, to check banning orders and to flag-up vulnerable people;
l Volunteer pastors from the Elim ‘Living Waters’ Pentecostal Church take to the streets to assist people who are vulnerable or in need of assistance.