Sunday, December 05, 2004
Saturday Night in North Walsham
On Saturday I spent the evening on patrol with North Walsham Police. There are clearly some very serious anti-social behaviour problems in North Walsham. While a zero tolerance approach appears to have reaped huge rewards in Sheringham, we now need to see those same measures implemented in North Walsham. But this can only be done in partnership with the local community, and in particular the Town Council. What I witnessed on Saturday night shocked me. There were a large number of police officers patrolling the town, yet they are powerless to combat the effects of alcohol. Every incident I witnessed was alcohol related. I witnessed the immediate aftermath of a knife attack outside The Feathers, several groups of youths clearly worse the wear for alcohol in the Precinct and there were several fights and incidents of public disorder around the market place and in Sainsbury’s Car Park. In addition, while the Police were dealing with the knife incident I witnessed two people pushing a car into a lamppost in the market place. The Police did a fantastic job in getting to all the incidents very quickly and dealing with them appropriately, but the common theme was alcohol. Without the fuel of alcohol none of these incidents would have happened. The Town Council should emulate Sheringham’s example and enforce a no public drinking order. I understand they have already discussed the issue but have failed to act on it. Now is the time to do so before it is too late. I’m not surprised that for many people the Market Place is a no go area on a weekend evening. This situation cannot continue. We must give the local Police all the tools they need to do their job, and a ban on public drinking in North Walsham is one of them. We need a zero tolerance approach and if the Town Council does not want to play ball with that approach I’d like to know why.