Calls drop after police shift hours

POLICE in Portishead have agreed to a change in their working shift patterns to ensure maximum cover for the town on weekend nights

POLICE in Portishead have agreed to a change in their working shift patterns to ensure maximum cover for the town on weekend nights.Officers based at the town's station have altered their working hours to ensure the town is patrolled by local beat officers on Friday and Saturday nights.Under the previous shift patterns, local beat officers only worked Friday and Saturday evenings two weekends in five on a shift basis.Now they are on duty both weekend nights, 52 weeks a year, with support from special constables drafted in from Weston-super-Mare and officers from the district's 24-hour team.The move to change the working hours comes as part of a drive to crackdown on antisocial behaviour in the town.And as a result, the number of calls to police about antisocial behaviour have plummeted - by 29 per cent.Between April 1 and July 31 this year there were 169 calls relating to criminal damage, disorder and nuisance compared to 239 over the same period in 2005.Portishead police sergeant Terry Scoble said: "The change in shift patterns means there are local beat officers, who are supported by police community support officers, who know the area and the community on duty every weekend night until the early hours."This is part of a strategy to cope with the problems that can be encountered at key times, including the summer holidays."As well as the beat officers we also have special constables from other parts of the district on hand and the support of our district units. The officers work until the early hours of the morning or longer if required, depending on incidents occurring in the town."We hope this change of shift patterns will result in a reduction in the level of antisocial behaviour and crime in the town."Portishead councillor David Pasley said he welcomed the news of the change in police shifts.Councillor Pasley said: "The change in police shifts to make sure Friday and Saturday nights are covered into the early hours is a strategy which is clearly working."There has been a significant reduction in the number of calls regarding nuisance over the past few months and that has to be good news for the town."Cllr Pasley said he also thought the introduction of alcohol free zones had been good for the town.Police have already been out on patrol, seizing alcohol from underage drinkers and disposing of it.Cllr Pasley added: "We will never completely solve the problem but these measures are going a long way to tackling it."* WHAT do you think? Let us know your views. Write to us at Mailbox, North Somerset Times, 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1LW. You can also e-mail your letters to or fax them to 01934 422600.

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