Crime commissioner sets up a 'fighting fund'!
Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner has stumped up £39,000 to help police 13 locations in the county as pubs, restaurants, hotels and campsites reopen on what's become known as Super Saturday. Local authorities in each location are getting £3,000 to spend on street marshals, CCTV, assisting volunteer schemes like street pastors and temporary toilets. After that they can have more cash, up to a total of £20,000 each.
In total, Alison Hernandez is making half a million pounds available over the summer to tackle antisocial behaviour in what's called a 'fighting fund'. As mass brawls broke out in Exmouth, last month, she's showing she's a crime commissioner with a sense of humour.
In recent weeks police and communities have had to deal with incidents of antisocial behaviour linked to excessive drinking as restrictions on people’s movement have eased. The new measures will help complement a wider summer policing plan that has enabled Devon and Cornwall Police to place extra resources at hotspots like Orcombe Point in Exmouth.
The places getting the cash have been identified by police to help prevent alcohol related antisocial behaviour over the busy covid-19 summer period. The 13 in Devon are: Orcombe Point (Exmouth), Exeter Quay, Exeter Cathedral, Bideford Quay, Teignmouth seafront, Woolacombe Beach, Croyde Bay, Torquay seafront, Paignton seafront, Newton Abbot, Brixham Harbour, Plymouth Hoe and Plymouth Barbican.
The commissioner will be working with local authorities and community safety partnerships over the next few days to agree bespoke solutions for each of the locations but has immediately made available £3,000 per location to support this coming weekend.
This new initiative comes directly from discussions in Exeter last week between the commissioner and the council leader in response to concerns about Exeter Quay. Exeter Quay, has seen significant problems in recent weeks, with residents reporting heavy drinking and people urinating in public and the Commissioner and the Council have agreed a package of additional support for the next 10 weeks.
Exeter City Council leader Councillor Phil Bialyk welcomed the initiative. He said: “There is a lot to be said for people taking personal responsibility when it comes to sporadic outburst of antisocial behaviour. It has been a national problem and unfortunately Exeter hasn’t been immune. Together with the commissioner I am confident we are doing everything within our control and resources to continue to retain Exeter Quay a stunning location for people to enjoy.”
The police and crime commissioner said that the funding was in addition to the £1.7m invested annually by her in community safety partnerships. These work with local partners to build safer communities. “We are entering what is traditionally Devon and Cornwall Police’s busiest period, with potentially even more visitors to the Westcountry than in previous years. I welcome the fact that the bars, restaurants and cafes which are an important part of our economy will be able to open this weekend, and we can once again give tourists a warm westcountry welcome.
“But I do want people to behave responsibly and consider the impact of their behaviour on others. This funding represents a significant investment in practical measures that, in partnership with councils and police, will help keep people safe and reduce the impact of the impending changes to coronavirus regulations.
“Our work with Exeter last week identified a wider opportunity to see us help more locations and I am delighted we can offer similar support to a wider group of areas to help prevent alcohol related antisocial behaviour this summer – in addition to the significant investments already being made through our summer policing plans.”