Joining forces to keep Diss safe

Drunken louts will be banned from licensed premises in south Norfolk under a new hard hitting scheme that is being rolled out across the county.

Drunken louts will be banned from licensed premises in south Norfolk under a new hard hitting scheme that is being rolled out across the county.

Friday's launch at Diss saw local licensees join forces with police and partner agencies to publicise the new Nightsafe internet-based system.

It enables pictures of unruly customers who have been shown the 'red-card' to be instantly uploaded and relayed to all premises in the district that have signed up to the scheme, including pubs, clubs, restaurants, supermarkets and holiday camps - where the excluded person is also banned for six months.

The aim is to combat anti-social behaviour in licensed premises. And PC Gary Pettengell, the Nightsafe Co-ordinator said the initiative is working very successfully in the Great Yarmouth and Norwich areas, where it is helping to promote the 'respect message.'

'We have already got 300 users of the system and it's going to go live in all seven districts of Norfolk, I am hoping by early July. It's looking like it will be one of the biggest crime initiatives in the country, but the beauty is it's a consistent approach across Norfolk,' he said.

'Nightsafe is a web-based scheme, so someone could be banned at 3am in the morning and that information can go out to all members. A door supervisor for example would have the image and information straight away.

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'Before you had different pub watch schemes and people didn't know where you are.'

He explained that pictures of banned troublemakers can either be downloaded from CCTV footage or photos taken at the premises on mobile phones or digital cameras.

Diss police inspector Stuart Chapman, said: 'This is an excellent scheme we are introducing to Diss and south Norfolk. The licensees, police and partners are working together to make Diss an even safer place to live, work and visit.

'Crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour will also not be tolerated in licensed premises and the scheme ensures that the minority of people who wish to spoil it for others are excluded from Nightsafe premises.'

The new scheme certainly got the thumbs up from licensees in the town.

'I think it's a great idea. If everyone pulls together and uses it it will work,'said Paul Meredew of The Cock Inn.

Dale Edwards, landlord of The Greyhound said: 'Anything that is going to improve safety around the town at night time is going to be a good thing,' and William Bavin of Weaver's Wine Bar, added: 'I think it's brilliant. If it helps reduce anti-social behaviour it's got to be good for everyone.'

Meanwhile, Diss Action Week, a week long operation aimed at improving the quality of life for people living in Diss, has been hailed a success. Planned activities were held to to get the whole community together to make Diss an even nicer and safer place to live.

Diss Inspector Stuart Chapman said: 'I'm pleased with the action week held in Diss last week under the respect programme. This is the first respect week that has been held in Diss and has provided us with good grounding to continue with this work in the future.

As well as the launch of Diss Nightsafe, there was also a driver safety evening, litter picks and a skip for people to dispose of their household junk.