Despite the concerns over incidents on Church Street, official figures show that, overall, drink-fuelled violence in Preston, which has been awarded Purple Flag status to reflect it is a safe and vibrant night out, continues to fall.
There were 352 alcohol related violent crimes in the city centre in 2011/12 compared to 422 the previous year – a fall of 17 per cent. Of those 352 incidents, 92 happened on Fridays and Saturdays.
And while the 97 crimes between January and November 2012 in Church Street was up on 2011 figures, it is a fall on the 111 offences recorded in 2010.
Official figures from the Royal Preston Hospital’s accident and emergency department show the number of people the hospital treated following alcohol-related assaults increased in the same period – although the hospital’s figures include admissions from the whole of Preston.
There were 980 alcohol related assault attendances in 2011/12 compared to 924 in 2010/11, a six per cent increase.
Insp Evans added: “We are pleased with the reduction in alcohol related violent crime in Preston. We continue to work hard with our partners to address the issues and have recently met with over 50 key individuals from the licenced trade to agree the continued support and approach being taken.
“The BID (Business Improvement District) group has been supportive and we are pleased with the awarding of Purple Flag status for the city.
“We continue with our regular Nightsafe operation in the city at peak times, which involves high visibility policing of the night time economy zone. This has been extended to 5am on Sunday mornings in response to an increase in demand between 3am and 5am.
“We have also realigned some resources into the city centre to address issues both during the day and evenings. This is already having a positive impact. We work with our partners closely and continue to have taxi marshalling on key dates to ensure people can get home as safely as possible.”
He also said ongoing police budget cuts, which are set to see more than 500 police officers lost across Lancashire, would not affect police response in Preston city centre.
“Clearly the night time economy of Preston continues to flourish so the policing response will remain proportionate to the identified risk,” he said.