Police have launched a crackdown on violent town centre trouble makers to stop them spoiling the Christmas party in Accrington.
Officers have been given funding to impose a series of measures to get tough with those who bring violence to the streets of Accrington over the festive season.
* Drawing up a list of violent yobs who will be banned from all town centre pubs until the New Year.
* Doubling the number of officers patrolling the town centre.
* Employing private security staff to marshal taxi ranks to make sure people get home safely until 4am.
* Focusing their resources on ‘red route’ patrols on the main routes out of town used by revellers to get home.
PC Rob Flanagan, the man behind the crackdown, said the moves would mean up to 20 extra people working to keep Accrington town centre safe on weekends.
He added: “We don’t want people ruining everyone else’s Christmas. We will lock them up, charge them and make sure they are banned instantly.
“Accrington is not the place to come to misbehave. We simply don’t want people to go on our naughty list at Christmas.
“The emphasis isn’t as such on people who are misbehaving. It’s about protecting people who aren’t misbehaving. We are getting tough on a minority.”
Landlords and community leaders have welcomed the move, saying it will help make the town centre safer.
The county council as provided £5,000 to pay for the new measures, which will also use private security staff.
An ambulance – or sanctuary bus – will be stationed outside the town hall to help injured people and decide whether first aid can be administered or whether they need to be taken to A&E. PC Flanagan believes Accrington is no worse than any other town in Lancashire for booze-fuelled trouble, but said the scheme was necessary so ordinary people could enjoy the next few weeks.
He said: “Having 15 to 20 extra members of staff working on Fridays and Saturdays, including PCs, Pcsos and sergeants, will help.
“At a taxi marshalling spot priority will be given to vulnerable females.
“We will also make sure people are fit to travel.
“A lot of people will walk home on what we are calling red routes.
“Some will have had a great time, some have just had too much drink and a small minority choose that route and commit crime.
“With the Sanctuary Bus, four St John Ambulance staff and two police officers, the aim is ensuring people’s safety. Hopefully it will help reduce A&E admissions too.”
“Accrington is a really great place to come to and we want to emphasise that. People are on work dos, friends are home from university, but it’s about drinking responsibly, otherwise people will be dealt with.”
PC Rob Flanagan, who has created four new ways to manage booze fuelled disruptions in Accrington, said automatic pub bans that have been issued could be extended further into next year following Pub Watch reviews from January 7.