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Chief Inspector slams "startling increase" in Eastgate Street crimes

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 07, 2012

PROBLEM:  Chief Inspector Richard Burge is  concerned about the increase in crime in the city.

PROBLEM: Chief Inspector Richard Burge is concerned about the increase in crime in the city.

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CRIME in the city centre has doubled now that pubs and clubs are allowed to serve alcohol around the clock.

Chief Inspector Richard Burge said trouble centres around takeaways where drunk people gather at the end of the night and that there has been a "startling increase" in crime.

And he believes the number of late-night eating venues has reached "saturation point" and a "culture change" is now needed to bring crime under control.

"Takeaways are a particular issue for us," he said.

"It has been building up since the change in legislation [of pub and club opening hours]. We have seen a startling increase in crime." The law change in 2005 effectively allows venues to serve alcohol 24 hours a day, although, in practice, they are open until the early hours of the morning. For example, Liquid nightclub is open until 3.30am on Fridays and 4am on Saturdays.

Crime in Eastgate Street has leapt from 867 incidents since the law came in during 2005 to 2,550 incidents in 2011. Crime in all four gate streets has gone from 1,753 to 3,827.

Mr Burge said: "We have had some really serious problems.

"Fights, bags stolen and even the takeaway staff themselves being abused."

He has a minimum of seven officers on the streets at weekends and said they are often out until 5.30am dealing with troublemakers.

He said: "Our 20 cells are full pretty much every weekend.

"I'm not against takeaways but we have got such a huge amount of them and, in my view, we have got more than enough."

Gloucester police have recently opposed applications by takeaways such as Peri Peri Chickenland and Zam Zam Chicken, both in Southgate Street, to open beyond 11pm.

Mr Burge is pushing for the county council to shut off Eastgate Street to traffic on Friday and Saturday nights to help.

And he said there are plans to spend £400,000 improving CCTV and £43,000 on lighting to make the area safer.

He is unsure if the new late-night levy, which came into effect on Wednesday, will help.

It allows councils to charge late-night venues from just under £300 to £4,400 a year to cover the cost of policing.

But he said it will not apply to takeaways as they do not serve alcohol.

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  • lewipaul  |  November 19 2012, 3:27PM

    Its about time the police closed these clubs down, they have closed down a lot of smaller pubs in Gloucester that had a lot less trouble than the likes of Liquid. There seems to be too much pandering to the drunks that fall out of these places. even the road is closed off to traffic at certain times and now they want to close it full time. The manager of Butlers is now calling for an alleyway by his pub to be closed to the public, where will it all end.

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  • VPH81  |  November 07 2012, 10:28PM

    Quote from the article: "CRIME in the city centre has doubled now that pubs and clubs are allowed to serve alcohol around the clock. Chief Inspector Richard Burge said trouble centres around takeaways where drunk people gather at the end of the night and that there has been a "startling increase" in crime." Hang on - this doesn't make any sense - if the trouble is caused by establishments serving alcohol around the clock, then surely there is no set 'end of the night'? Wasn't that one of the points of allowing extended licencing hours? That you wouldn't get hundreds of intoxicated people all pouring onto the streets (and into fast food outlets) at the same time?

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  • tishwash  |  November 07 2012, 6:47PM

    "CRIME in the city centre has doubled now that pubs and clubs are allowed to serve alcohol around the clock. Chief Inspector Richard Burge said trouble centres around takeaways where drunk people gather at the end of the night and that there has been a "startling increase" in crime." Around the clock but the issue is drunk nights at the end of a night, not really linked ey ? Surely it's actually the changing mindsets, people cause trouble more now, more people report it and less is dealt with by the locals forcing their mates to stop acting like idiots?

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  • Whitesmiths  |  November 07 2012, 4:17PM

    There is not a single licensee in the City centre that does not serve drunks.... only when you have spent all your cash will they get you to leave.

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  • SELINA30  |  November 07 2012, 3:35PM

    More bobbies on the beat? Just a thought.

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  • gloscityguy  |  November 07 2012, 2:18PM

    patronise much vertigo? and you are wrong about people not frequenting Eastgate St, and also very wrong about the clubs not serving people who are already very drunk, They only show you the exit if you are either too drunk to stand or if you are acting aggressively, as both are bad for business. and you are right about having small enclosed spaces, with people who have had far too much to drink being a place of trouble, but they are not the root of the problem, the clubs are. When they served curry on the street there was never any trouble as people would pick up food and walk off. This is more to do with the takeaways being hard to police, but why should one form of local business suffer when the clubs get to ply people with drink so they get violent in the first place, start fining the clubs that do serve to the drunk, and the figures of violence would go down too.

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  • Vertigo23  |  November 07 2012, 12:24PM

    It's obvious the people commenting here dont frequent the pubs and clubs in Eastgate so I feel I should point out one thing. Generally on a night out in Gloucester, I can get absolutely hammered and have a good night, never once got into a fight and have never once been sprawled across the street throwing my guts up. I generally end up grabbing some food and jumping in a taxi. Zilch problems, and I'm pretty certain 80% of the clubbing population would agree that this is the same for them. Another point people saying about it being illegal to serve a drunk person and the clubs being shut down. The clubs do abide by this law, as so much as a stumble and the bouncers are on you escorting you to the exit, no if's no but's no maybes. The real problems as the article states is when everyone comes spilling out the clubs at kicking out time, everyone trying to get the same taxi's, everyone trying to get food. The takeaways are quite small and this can lead to a fairly hostile environment and all it takes is the wrong person to get wound up and a fight starts

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 07 2012, 9:53AM

    Absolutely - council licensing officer can and should take action to curb hours these establishments can operate and as suggested by others above, persistent trouble spots should be closed down.

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  • spindles12  |  November 07 2012, 9:34AM

    I don't understand why most pubs and clubs haven't been closed down by now considering one of the rules of the Licencing Laws:- Sale of Alcohol to a Person who is Drunk. Section 141 makes it an offence to sell or attempt to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk, or to allow alcohol to be sold to such a person on relevant premises. It obviously goes on everywhere with pubs and clubs overflowing with people who are well tanked up by the time they leave, thereby causing lots of trouble out in the streets that the police have to deal with. I believe when the granting of 24 hour drinking was first mentioned quite a few people had reservations about the extra crime and disturbance it would cause and now they are being proved right.

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  • gloscityguy  |  November 07 2012, 8:58AM

    Yes it is all those late night takeaways that just keep serving drink after drink until 4am that is the cause for all the violence

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