With rates of violent crime now 11.2% higher in Nottingham than the national average, police have taken to the streets to battle violence at night.
These figures released by the Office for National Statistics suggest that Nottingham has one of the worst reputations for violence in the country. In the 2012 Government Alcohol Strategy Report, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned of the high levels of violence taking place across core UK cities as a result of increased alcohol consumption.
“The crime and violence it (alcohol) causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities. My message is simple. We can’t go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now.” – David Cameron, Prime Minister
With two popular universities in Nottingham, the city is home to a higher than average proportion of young people. According to Nottinghamshire Police, this age group is mainly responsible for frequenting the night-time economy and fuelling alcohol-related violence.
In response to the government report, Nottinghamshire Police have deployed a range of tactics to control the behaviour of young people at night. As well as increasing alcohol confiscations in public places, officers are now using ‘Section 27 Notices’ more frequently in order to deter youths they believe are likely to cause trouble. Once an individual has been issued with a written notice, they are shown a map of the city centre outlining an area to which they forbidden to return for 48 hours.
Although introduced in 2006 to control the behaviour of boozy football fans, the Section 27 Act has, over the last year, helped to decrease alcohol-related violence in the city by 10%.
According to Last Orders, one of Nottingham’s leading alcohol charities, the police have needed to take more robust action in order to ensure young people ‘learn their lesson’, after becoming involved in violence. Over the last two years, a record number of young people in the city have been forced to enrol on rehabilitation courses as a result of being arrested for committing violent crime.
“In the city, it often takes getting arrested, spending a night in the cells and having an officer bring you breakfast in the morning, for people to sit up and smell the roses. The people that come on our course and have been through this, say they are going to think more seriously about their drinking habits.” – Caroline Thompson, Last Orders
Many young people living in the city feel threatened by levels of violence at night. Last year on his way back from a night club at two o’clock in the morning, Aaron, a third year student studying at Nottingham Trent University, was attacked by a group of youths who he believed to have been under the influence of alcohol. At the scene of the incident, he told CBJ News that he still feels threatened whilst socialising in the city out at night. He is addimant that this results from a change in the culture of drinking.
Have you been out at night in Nottingham and experienced violence in the city? Get in touch with us via Twitter, @CBJNEWS.