'This must end now'- Calls to stamp out Prince of Wales Road criminality

Agencies and councillors have offered reassurances after three stabbings in Prince of Wales Road

Agencies and councillors have offered reassurances after three stabbings in Prince of Wales Road - Credit: Archant/Contributed

Reassurances have been given over the safety of the city's clubland following a recent spate of crimes and urgent calls for action against recent violence on the street. 

The Evening News and other city agencies are calling for an end to the recent violence seen in Prince of Wales Road and surrounding streets. 

It comes after three men were stabbed outside Bar and Beyond just before 12.35am on Saturday.

Three police vehicles remain on the scene after officers were called to a "late night incident" on Prince of Wales Road

Police vehicles in Prince of Wales following a late night altercation in August - Credit: Ben Hardy

Drink spiking in clubs and bars, as well as shocking footage of people using knives and guns in the Rose Lane Jet Garage have also raised questions over public safety post-lockdown. 

Recent incidents have seen one man charged with grievous bodily harm and possession of a knife in Norwich. Another has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm. 

But Norfolk Police has said it is committed to investigating incidents fully, as well as preventing knife crimes from happening in the first place.

A spokeswoman said: “It is crucial to remember this is an issue for society as a whole and we are working with partner agencies and the local community to continue educating people around the risks of carrying knives.

“We all have a role to play in keeping communities safe. I would urge anyone who suspects or has information that someone is carrying a knife to tell us so we can take appropriate action.”

Cathedral Street remains sealed off on Wednesday morning in Norwich

Prince of Wales Road in Norwich has seen a spate in criminal behaviour post-lockdown - Credit: Ben Hardy

Ben Price, county and city councillor whose division includes Prince of Wales Road, said police are working hard to put a lot of time and resources into the clubbing hotspot.

But he expressed his frustration over the city council's lack of vision to reimagine Prince of Wales Road with more of an emphasis on day-time businesses and café culture. 

Mr Price suggested moving big nightclubs to an outer industrial area to ensure the city's nightlife offer is not concentrated in the same area near homes. 

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The councillor continued: "There is no way to get home after a night out. There are no buses or trains and not enough taxis to take people home.

Ben Price, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet and chair of the audit committee. Picture: Norwich Gree

Ben Price, Green Party city and county councillor - Credit: Norwich Greens

"All the bars and clubs empty at the same time and there is a condensing of people waiting for taxis after having certain amounts of drink." 

Regular clean-ups are now taking place at the James Stuart Garden just off Prince of Wales Road in response to anti-social-behaviour and drugs in the park. 

Mr Price added: "Norwich is a very, very safe city and Norfolk is a safe county. Hundreds of thousands of people go out and have a good time risk free.

"Everyone has a personal responsibility about their behaviour and the vast majority of people can enjoy a nice night out."

Mr Price's fellow ward city councillor Lesley Grahame echoed his thoughts on calling for Prince of Wales Road to be reimagined by the city council.

Lesley Graham, Green Party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward in Norwich. Pic: Green Party.

Lesley Graham, Green Party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward in Norwich. Pic: Green Party. - Credit: Green Party

She said: "It’s not enough to wait for locals to ask for licenses to be reviewed. We need strategic planning and action from the city council to bring out the best in the area.

“I want to see people enjoying themselves safely in Prince of Wales Road, able to trust the police, the council and club owners, and for the area not to feel threatening.”

In response, Norwich City Council cabinet member for safer, stronger neighbourhoods, Beth Jones, said the incident in Prince of Wales at the weekend was "unusual and rare" for Norwich, and also an "unsettling time for the community". 

She added: "The city council continues to work closely with the police and other key organisations, as well as local businesses, to help tackle any negative effects of the night-time economy within the city centre.

"Antisocial behaviour is a complex issue and everyone’s concern. Only by working together can we find solutions to address these issues." 

The cabinet has invited Mr Price to discuss his concerns with them in more detail. 

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis described knife crime as a "systemic problem" with the poverty which drives people to such behaviour requiring closer examination.