Bar boss's plea for more police
Bar and club owners in Burnley town centre fear there are not enough police to keep order at the busiest weekend times.
Concerns that revellers could be seriously injured or worse due to a lack of police coverage at key hours have been raised in Pub Watch meetings between licensees over recent months.
Later opening hours and ever-decreasing police reosurces have combined to create what could be a perfect storm of disorder – something bar owners are keen to avoid.
Paul Roberts, who runs BB11, The Paddock and Revvs nightclub in the town centre, said: “The police are really good in the town centre when they’re there and I know they have a very hard job on limited resources.
“One of the main problems we have is most of the early bars in town start around 9pm and close at 3am.
“The police shift change is at 3am, at 2-50am they are walking off home, just as we’re asking people to drink up and leave.
“Hundreds of people are on the streets after leaving the bars at 3am, and there’s no police.
“In my opinion this is when we need them the most. If the shift change was a hour later, say 4am, I think it would benefit town a lot more.
“I believe a lot of incidents go unnoticed at the moment and unpunished. I believe a lot of incidents could easily be avoided with the right deterrents in place.”
Mr Roberts was keen not to criticise police saying they did a tough job and were “worth their weight in gold.”
But he cited a recent example of an town centre assault, which could have ended in disaster, when no police were around.
He added: “I will not say a bad thing about the night time police officers. They have a tough job and the majority are very good.
“It’s just a shame they’re not there more often. There’s been many a times in the town centre when the night time police officers have been worth their weight in gold.
“It makes every one’s lives so much easier if there’s an officer nearby to defuse or deter altercations before they escalate.”
Mr Roberts, who is hosting the next Pub Watch at the Paddock in Hammerton Street, said he would raise the issue of police shift patterns at the meeting.
“The night life culture has changed and that’s a fact, it gets busy a lot later than it used to.
“The people that come out at a sensible time like 8pm to 11pm are never any trouble in my experience, and what I would class as low risk.
“It would make sense to me if we had less police at these times and more later on in the night. Without meaning to sound like I’m telling the police how to do their jobs, I really think the police shift patterns need to be looked at.”
Insp Catherine Platt, of Burnley Police, said police shift patterns have remained consistent for several years now.
Insp Platt said: “At night, some officers work until 3am, while other officers are on duty until 7am.
“We are aware the night time economy starts and finishes much later. There tends to be less demand earlier on and more demand in the early hours of the morning.
“We do tailor our activity so there are officers on foot in town centres in the early hours of the morning. People want to enjoy themselves but we ask they do so responsibly.
“We do try and carry out early intervention work wherever possible and I know this is a regular discussion among officers as we try to manage demand in the towns.”