Pier opens... and crime falls
PUBLISHED: 11:11 03 December 2010
DRUNKEN brawls, abusive language and general antisocial behaviour has been falling in Weston since the re-opening of the Grand Pier.
The rides, gaming machines and entertainment on offer at the £51million attraction are keeping thousands of families in the area happy and seem to be helping to keep the level of antisocial behaviour down.
Police in the town say that since the landmark re-opened on October 23 calls from the public regarding nuisance behaviour have dropped significantly and town centre sergeant, Pete Land, says the change became apparent almost immediately.
Sergeant Land said: “We had actually been anticipating an increase in incidents within the town as a result of the increased footfall because of the pier’s reopening but, in fact, the opposite happened.
“Both Inspector Liz Hughes and myself were pleasantly surprised to see that over the opening weekend the level of calls received were in single figures for Weston as a whole, not just the town centre.
“We are pleased that this trend has continued to hold true in the weeks following the re-opening of the pier.”
October figures show a drop of nearly 17 per cent and November figures suggest the trend has continued.
Sgt Land says the additional attraction of the Grand Pier as a facility for young people is making a ‘significant contribution’ to reducing crime levels, but also stressed that local neighbourhood teams, in particular PCSOs, have worked ‘tirelessly’ to engage with the public, young people and businesses.
He added: “I am of the opinion that we are beginning to see some long-term benefits of this approach.
“The perceived high levels of antisocial behaviour and fear of crime can have a negative effect, which causes people to feel that they are not safe.
“The Grand Pier has attracted a great many visitors to the town in recent weeks.”
Sgt Land said that officers have only been called to the pier on two occasions to deal with antisocial behaviour.
Bosses at the new-look pier, which has attracted more than 500,000 visitors, have welcomed the news that their attraction is helping the police.
A spokesman said: “We are delighted that the opening of the pier has had an impact on antisocial behaviour in the town.
“We are providing a safe environment for people to gather in the day and evening and our year-round opening has provided a completely new entertainment venue for the people of Weston.”