Police disappointed with decision

POLICE chiefs say the EMRO proposals was “uncharted territory” but say they are now looking forward to working with licensees to reduce disorder through other means.

Hartlepool’s Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin presented the evidence pulled together by Cleveland Police and the Safer Hartlepool Partnership in support of the Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order (EMRO).

Figures show violent crime has been halved since 2005 between the hours of 9pm and 6am - the hours associated with the night time economy – but a third of crime continues to occur between those hours.

Temp Chf Insp Rukin said there had been a shift in the number of violent offences committed between 3am and 6am from seven per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2011-12 and the police supported the introduction of an EMRO as a “useful tool” to help reduce crime and disorder.

Afterwards he said: “The EMRO process began following a request under the banner of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, which involves a number of partner agencies. Evidence to support the process was provided by Cleveland Police and partners.

“This was uncharted territory and it’s positive that Hartlepool is a place that allows for open consultation and discussion on issues of this nature.

“The hearing was a fair process and we look forward to working with licensees and partners to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour further across Hartlepool over the next year and beyond.”

Sergeant Jonathan Wrigley and PC Andy Thorpe, of Hartlepool District Licensing Unit, spoke about the various initiatives used to improve the night time economy including banning orders, directions to leave, road closures and taxi marshalling schemes.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, regional alcohol awareness group, said: “We applaud Hartlepool Council as the first local authority in the country to try and use legislation to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol through an EMRO.

“However, it is disappointing that on this occasion the EMRO has been rejected.

“Evidence tells us that the best way to prevent alcohol harm is by making it less affordable, reducing the promotion and marketing of alcohol products – and in this case reducing the availability.”

He called on bars and clubs in Hartlepool to work closely with the local authority to reduce the negative impact that alcohol is having.