Ex-mayor says Safe Places in Northampton are ‘essential’

Ex-mayor says Safe Places in Northampton are essential
Ex-mayor says Safe Places in Northampton are essential

The former mayor of Northampton, who is an ex-chairman of the alcohol licensing committee has backed the Chronicle & Echo’s ‘Safe Places’ campaign for club-goers who feel vulnerable on nights out in the town.

Councillor, John Caswell told the Chronicle & Echo that groups of men are more likely to be aggressive on nights out and women need a safe haven.

He said: “It’s females that have got to be protected at night. It is essential that there is somewhere to go for women to take refuge. We must be seen to be backing the campaign.”

Last week, Father Oliver Coss said he wants to take the first step and explore putting a marquee outside All Saints Church – in the heart of the town’s nightspots – where people can wait for friends or a taxi in safety.

Councillor Caswell has also given the green light to the idea of a central ‘Safe Place’ hub as it would be a good place for people to go if they feel they are in trouble.

As an alternative idea to the marquee, the former mayor has also suggested that local businesses could sponsor a mobile unit for party-goers to shelter in if they feel unsafe.

He said: “We need somewhere, the trouble is the police are stretched. Something has to be done somewhere.

“I have got a young granddaughter and when she gets older I would fear for her. Where you are suggesting putting the marquee is in just the right place.

“[Clubgoers] can go to that if they think they are being followed. It’s somewhere for people to think, ‘that’s where I’ll go.'

So-called vulnerability policies cannot be applied retrospectively to existing licensing agreements by the committee, to force the issue, as mandatory conditions are set out by central Government.

But Councillor Penelope Flavell, current chair of the licensing committee at Northampton Borough Council, said: “As a council we have an obligation to ensure that licensed premises are well-run by responsible licensees and are safe. We are open to any action that licensees can take to ensure their customers enjoy a safe night out.”

Our campaign is calling on the 14 establishments in the town centre that are open until after 1am to have Safe Places for women.

Evidence from the Office of National Statistics report reveals that: 'Looking at the days of the week on which violent offences take place, for overall violence, 47 per cent of incidents occurred during the week and 53 percent of incidents occurred at the weekend. It is probable that most of the incidents occurring at the weekend took place on Friday or Saturday night.'

'Information on police recorded crime for 28 forces from the Home Office Data Hub1 supports this finding, with Friday and Saturday showing the highest proportion of violent crimes recorded between the hours of 9 pm to 3 am (39 percent and 41 per cent of all weekend violent crime respectively). This is likely to reflect the greater influence of alcohol consumption on these particular days and times.'