The most senior police officer in Northamptonshire has said people would be shocked if they knew the levels of drunkenness and violence officers see in Northampton town centre every weekend.
Northamptonshire Police’s Chief Constable, Adrian Lee, has called for a ban on selling alcohol in the town centre after either 2am or 3am.
Speaking to Northampton Borough Council’s licensing committee, he said people would be stunned if they saw what happens in the town at weekends.
He said: “If you go into Bridge Street at 3am the levels of drunkenness and violence you get is just not right for Northampton. I think most people would be surprised by what actually goes on.
“So I don’t think the current licensing system is working properly and I think Northampton would be a much safer place if it was constrained.
“It would improve policing in the town centre and increase opportunities for people to actually come into town and enjoy themselves.”
Under new laws, the council can restrict the sale of alcohol in areas where there are crime or disorder problems.
Restrictions could be enforced any time between midnight and 6am and all licenced premises would have to abide by the ruling.
Mawk Sawyer from Bridge Street bar, NBs, said that if the Chief Constable’s suggestion of a 2am or 3am curfew was imposed, some clubs would go out of business.
He said: “This would hit some bars in the town and some would go out of business, there’s no doubt about that.”
But councillors agreed something needed to be done.
Councillor Sally Beardsowrth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) said: “I’ve been out in Bridge Street with the police at 3am and it’s frightening.
“I saw people who were drunk who were attacking their own friends, they wanted to kill each other. It’s scary.”
Council officers will now look at where restrictions could be brought in, what hours they could run from and on what days.
A curb on late night drinking could be introduced by Northampton Borough Council implementing an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO).
An EMRO is a power introduced under the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act .
It allows councils to restrict the sale of alcohol where they consider there are alcohol related crime and disorder issues.
Restrictions can be brought in between midnight and 6am.
The restrictions would apply to all licensed premises and events where alcohol is sold. There are no exceptions except for hotels who provide alcohol through mini-bars and room service.
Officials from the Guildhall will now draw up proposals for an EMRO in Northampton.