Police officers criticised for being 'standoffish' during late night trouble (From The Northern Echo)
For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Police officers criticised for being 'standoffish' during late night trouble
POLICE in a North-East town have defended their approach to late night patrols around pubs and nightclubs after claims that officers are ‘standoffish’ and avoid getting involved with trouble.
Officers working Darlington town centre in the early hours of Saturdays and Sundays were also accused of preferring to sit in their vans watching door staff deal with scuffles and abuse from drunks.
Inspector Mick Button, neighbourhood inspector for Darlington, said police no longer actively patrol the town centre in large groups during the early hours but instead respond to incidents when they happen.
The claims against Durham Police’s Darlington operations were made during a licensing hearing about nightclub Inside Out, which was threatened with the suspension of its licence because of concerns from the force about the increased number of incidents at the venue.
During the hearing, a number of the club’s security team raised concerns that police officers in the town were not doing enough to tackle disorder.
Steve Howe, managing director of Phoenix Security, which also provides door staff for a number of venues around the town, said Darlington was considered a challenging place for security teams.
He said: “Darlington is unlike any other place we work. The police are very standoffish.
“I can’t remember the last time when the police came to the venue [Inside Out] and spoke to staff rather than sitting in a van over the road.
“They tend to let things fester and let things go on too long. There was an incident where the door staff were getting abuse for 90 minutes while police watched – I would expect an officer to help.”
Mr Howe said the problems he had experienced in Darlington were replicated across the North-East, adding: “They [the police] don’t have the resources to put officers on the streets like they used to.”
In response, Insp Button said: “We have a structure about how we handle the night-time economy based on where the demand is. Some locations will get more visibility than others.
“Violent crime in Darlington is at the lowest it has been for a long time. These days we can’t afford to have 15 police officers walking around who are not dealing with incidents but we do not neglect the town.”
He added: “If door teams do have instances where officers are sitting in a van then they should let us know, because that shouldn’t be happening.”
Comments are closed on this article.