Crackdown on alcohol sales in Norwich city centre sees fall in crime

Norfolk police say a ban on alcohol sales in the early hours has cut crime in Norwich city centre.

Norfolk police say a ban on alcohol sales in the early hours has cut crime in Norwich city centre. - Credit: EDP © 2001

New figures have revealed that a voluntary move by bars and clubs in Norwich city centre to stop selling alcohol in the early hours has led to 200 fewer crimes and incidents.

Bars and clubs in the city's Prince of Wales Road voluntarily agreed last year to stop serving alcohol after 4am and Norfolk police said that led to 217 fewer incidents between August 2012 and February this year compared to the same period 12 months previously.

Superintendent Paul Sanford, Norwich policing commander, had previously estimated that 48,000 officer hours per year were spent patrolling the Norwich night time economy and opening into the early hours caused that figure to be 12,000 officer hours per year higher than the period before late night licences.

Police want to make the voluntary ban more official and had asked Norwich City Council to use new powers to impose an early morning restriction order, controlling when alcohol could be sold.

The city council agreed the principle of the ban in October and were due to ask the public for their views on two options.

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But the police have now come back with a revised proposal, which would create three early morning restriction orders (EMRO) in the city.

In all three zones, the sale of alcohol between 3am and 6am Monday to Friday, and from 3.45am to 6am on Saturdays and Sundays, would be banned.

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The zones would be focused on the Tombland area, Prince of Wales Road and the Riverside area.

Ian Streeter, Norwich City Council's licensing manager: 'As always, we will work with the police to fulfil our collective responsibilities - for the city council as licensing authority, this is to meet our licensing objectives while for the police it is to maintain law and order.

'We very much want people to enjoy everything that the city has to offer in terms of its late night economy and the police proposal to establish three separate EMROs for different parts of the city are very much part of that approach.'

A full meeting of Norwich City Council in the coming months will be asked to put the proposals for the zones out to public consultation.

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