Successful first weekend for street marshals trial

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By Somerset Guardian | Saturday, October 27, 2012, 06:00

A clampdown on late-night antisocial behaviour has now begun in Midsomer Norton.

Last weekend saw private security guards join the fight against unruly drunks and intoxicated troublemakers for the first time in a six-month trial that will see them hitting the streets every weekend.

Two street marshals spent five hours on both Friday and Saturday night patrolling the town centre to try to put a stop to problems before they got out of hand.

During the evening they explained to revellers what they are doing and helped PCSOs and doormen as they battled to keep the town centre safe for those enjoying a night out.

The scheme is being funded jointly by Midsomer Norton Town Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council and will cost taxpayers £11,700 over the six-month trail, which will see the security guards in the town between 10pm and 3am every Friday and Saturday night. It is hoped if it proves successful money will be made available for a longer run to go ahead.

Michael Curry, clerk to Midsomer Norton Town Council, described the first outing of the street marshals as a success.

Mr Curry said: "It went very much as anticipated. They created a visual presence and helped stop the odd incident escalating."

He said the marshals controlled incidents where people had become "agitated" by calming down those involved. Mr Curry said they also reminded drinkers to leave glasses at the pubs they had left as they tried to stop people taking glass out on to the streets as they made their way between pubs and entertainment venues.

The introduction of street marshals is part of a wider campaign that hopes to address the link between irresponsible drinking and crime and disorder in the town.

Earlier this year a Community Alcohol Partnership was formed where councils, police, health workers and retailers promised to work together to address underage drinking and educate people about the dangers of binge drinking.

Midsomer Norton Town Council has also begun the process of introducing a street drinking ban in the town centre.

The proposal, for what is formally known as a Designated Public Place Order, has been put forward by the town council and would enable police to confiscate alcohol from anyone who is drinking in the designated areas.



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