Make your own free website on Tripod.com

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT STRATEGY

An Integrated Approach

FOUNDATION REPORT

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

2

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT

An Integrated Approach

Executive Summary

Enniskillen’s evening economy is generally considered to be ‘a problem’ and the

town is described as almost being a ‘different place’ at night. The result of this is

that the town centre has become more than just a focus for leisure, entertainment

and cultural activity for people of all ages. It has specifically become a focus for

young people, with all the adherent problems that this may attract.

To address this, the approach suggested by Fermanagh District Policing

Partnership (DPP) and Fermanagh Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is ‘to

build a partnership approach to ensure that Enniskillen town centre can

continue to develop as a vibrant and family orientated area, whilst ensuring

visitors and inhabitants feel safe and that the town is a place where

everyone can visit and enjoy themselves’.

The DPP and CSP have a remit, in one form or another, to prevent crime. The

initial work carried out by these two Partnerships sought

· through historical and statistical evidence, to examine some of the elements

which contribute to, and impact upon, the problems which arise in the late

evening

· to identify those agencies which, in partnership, can address the issues

identified

· to facilitate and assist in establishing real and lasting solutions to crime and

anti social behaviour in Enniskillen town.

This Foundation Report identifies some of the more prominent problems with the

night time economy, principle partners who have, and can, continue to contribute

to the initial phase of the strategy, the initiatives that have been introduced and

the aspects of the Integrated Strategy that are currently being developed.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

3

The core areas identified in the initial report which could be addressed were:

Transport the provision of taxi ranks in the town

Hot Food Outlets the voluntary reduction of opening hours, until 3.00am

Alcohol the provision of staff training / the use of plastic

‘glasses’ / ‘Not on the Street’ Campaign / Street

Drinkers Programme / underage drinking

Policing increased visible presence of police in town / reintroduction

of town beats / zero tolerance operations

CCTV introduction of a CCTV Scheme in the town centre

area

Training/Education Sensible Serve programme and Door Supervisors

Scheme / Education programmes such as ‘Youth

Against Alcohol and Crime’, Anti Social Behaviour

plays, Citizenship and Safety Programme and Alcohol

and Drug Education.

For most large towns, the night-time economy is a feature of our culture and is

here to stay. Successful management of night-time leisure will depend on

proactive planning by all those involved to develop a leisure culture in which the

whole community can participate. This will involve local partnerships, such as the

Community Safety Partnership, or the creation of a partnership, such as a town

business forum, to develop a fully integrated approach.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

4

INDEX

1.0 INTRODUCTION ……………………………….….PAGE 5

2.0 BACKGROUND ………………………………..….PAGE 7

3.0 STRATEGIC AIMS AND INITIATIVES ………….PAGE 11

4.0 FUNDING…………………………………………...PAGE 20

5.0 NEXT STEPS ……………………………………...PAGE 21

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

5

1.0 Introduction

In many towns, Enniskillen included, the evening economy is a significant part of

the District’s overall economy and is a valuable source of local employment. The

evening economy is also important to the culture, distinctiveness and tourism

product that Enniskillen has to offer and visitors to the town are drawn from

across the County and further afield.

Many important issues surround the night-time economy but there are two core

elements which influence the successful control of the crime and anti social

behaviour which plagues the evening leisure culture – crime itself and the public’s

perception of crime and anti social behaviour.

Enniskillen town has a very good range of restaurants, bars and other venues for

evening activity and town living has once again become popular. For young

people, drinking alcohol is the most popular and common activity in Enniskillen at

night and the town centre has become known as an area almost ‘exclusively’ for

young people.

The simplistic reaction to this is to try to limit and reduce this activity. This

approach is negative – it does not recognise the social and economic value of the

evening economy and is counter-productive. This approach has historically been

shown to be unsuccessful and would only damage the potential brought to the

town by the evening economy.

There are extensive studies in relation to the link between alcohol and

aggression. It is a complex relationship and factors such as personality, learned

patterns of drunken behaviour and environment all play a part. The environment

factor is particularly significant – dark, noisy and crowded surroundings are

known to increase feelings of aggression, hence studies into ‘wind down’ or ‘chill

out’ times. The situation is also exacerbated by problems related to poor

transport facilities that may, in turn, lead to arguments and fights later on the

streets.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

6

The issue of policing the night-time leisure culture has been heavily debated.

This is partly because of concerns regarding the effectiveness of legislation and

the courts but also is related to concerns that police do not have sufficient

resources to effectively control the concentration of young people engaged in

anti-social behaviour (arguments, street urination, vandalism, etc) at closing time.

There are wider issues to be considered too – increased noise and litter,

increased pressure on the emergency services and the fear of crime generated

by aggressive, drunken behaviour.

On a positive note, the night-time economy provides a range of bars, restaurants

and clubs which attract visitors and tourists and provide leisure facilities for local

residents. These venues provide employment opportunities for the community.

The purpose of this Foundation Report is not to examine the advantages and

disadvantages that alcohol has on an evening economy but is to consider what

could be done locally to manage the worst excesses of Enniskillen’s night-time

economy. Improved facilities will benefit local residents and visitors and improve

the reputation of the town.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

7

2.0 BACKGROUND

This report has its foundation in the original work started at the ‘Your Community-

Your Concern: Tackling Problems in Partnership’ conference facilitated by the Jill

Dando Institute of Crime Science held on 24 May 2004.

Following the conference, work continued on the examination of those elements

of the evening economy that contributed to criminal and anti social behaviour in

Enniskillen town. A working document, ‘Enniskillen at Night – Towards and

Integrated Approach’, was produced that sought to examine and address the

issues that adversely affected the evening economy.

The Wider Problem

In the United Kingdom it is estimated that 40% of violent crime, 78% of assaults

and 88% of criminal damage offences are committed while the offender is, to a

greater or lesser degree, under the influence of alcohol (Crime and Disorder –

Portman Group). In the Irish Republic, public intoxication offences rose from

4,000 in 1996 to 17,800 in 2001 while public order offences increased by 300% in

the same period [Strategic Task Force on Alcohol – Second Report 2004].

Two-thirds of sentenced male prisoners (63%) and two-fifths of female sentenced

prisoners (39%) admitted to hazardous drinking prior to imprisonment. Over half

the binge-drinkers (69% male/45% female) reported at least one violent incident

in the last year [Alcohol Concern – Sept 2004].

The concentration of these types of offences in late evening, and particularly the

weekends, has been widely highlighted by the media. The cost to the UK

economy is estimated at £7.3 billion per annum in terms of policing, prevention,

processing offenders through the criminal justice system and the human costs

incurred by victims [Alcohol Concern]. The cost to the Irish economy is even

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

8

greater at €2.65 billion Euro with healthcare costs alone costing €433 million Euro

[Strategic Task Force on Alcohol – Second Report 2004].

The Local Problem

At the Fermanagh District Policing Partnership (DPP) meeting on 9 April 2003 the

PSNI District Commander, responding to a question from a DPP Member,

reported that 70% of all crime in Fermanagh occurs in Enniskillen town. This led

one local newspaper to dub Enniskillen ‘The Crime Capital of Fermanagh’.

Subsequent reports presented to the DPP have revealed that 62% of assaults

and 69% of criminal damage occur in Enniskillen. These offences are particularly

prevalent at weekends when 58% of assaults and 48% of criminal damage

occurs.

Crime Audit for Enniskillen Town Area

Statistics, prepared by the PSNI Police Analyst to inform discussion on the

potential implementation of CCTV in Enniskillen town centre, provided an

analysis of recorded crime in Enniskillen between 1 April 2003 and 31 March

2004. The statistics identified crime type and location, and the days and times

crimes were committed. The statistics were particularly useful in providing a

background to reported crime in Enniskillen town.

Overall Crime

In Fermanagh, 2,625 crimes were recorded in the 2003/2004 financial year. Of

these, 1,689 (64%) took place in Enniskillen station area.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

9

The crime breakdown was as follows.

Fear of Crime

There is even greater concern in respect of the fear of being involved in elements

of late evening crime and anti social behaviour. In a 2003 MORI poll, 78% of

respondents said they were concerned about binge drinking, drunkenness and

disorderly behaviour and only 25% of respondents aged 35-54 visited their town

centres in the evening once or more than once a month. This has a significant

impact on the evening culture and economy in towns and cities [MORI – 2003].

Fear of crime causes anxiety, which in turn affects people’s quality of life. Fear of

crime means that people may feel unsafe in their neighbourhood and, worse still,

in their homes. It can have a negative impact on people’s behaviour, making

them reluctant to walk, or take public transport, alone at night. It particularly

affects certain ‘vulnerable groups’ such as the elderly. Frequently, the fear of

crime does not reflect the actual crime rate but it does give an insight into how

people perceive the level of crime in their area.

Crime Breakdown by Type, Enniskillen Town Centre

Criminal Damage

9%

Robbery

>1%

Disturbance

34%

Assault

17%

Burglary

8%

Sexual/Indecency

offences

1%

Theft

Vehicle Crime 19%

12%

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

10

According to the Northern Ireland Crime Survey 2001 and the British Crime

Survey 2001/2002, the proportion of people who worried about crime was higher

in Northern Ireland than in England or Wales.

Source: Creating a Safer Northern Ireland through Partnership

A number of local surveys in recent years have confirmed the concerns of the

community with regards to fear of crime. The most recent, the 2004 DPP NISRA

Survey, found that 66% of respondents felt unsafe or very unsafe walking the

streets at night.

In 2003, Waring M&E carried out a survey to gain some idea of the public

perception of crime in Enniskillen town. One of the questions asked was, ‘What

crimes do you fear after 6pm?’

Question: What crimes do you fear after 6.00pm?

Crime Feared During

Evening/Night

PERSONAL ATTACKS

29%

THEFT/BURGLARY

13%

DRUNKENNESS ET AL

41%

OTHER

2%

VANDALISM

8%

SEXUAL ATTACKS

2%

NOT DETERRED

5% PERSONAL ATTACKS

THEFT/BURGLARY

VANDALISM

SEXUAL ATTACKS

DRUNKENNESS ET

AOLTHER

NOT DETERRED

Source: Waring M&E CCTV Survey 2003

Enniskillen is perceived to be unsafe during the evening. A closer inspection of

the detailed survey returns revealed that this perception is consistent across all

age groups. The fear of crime in the evening in Enniskillen is related, in the main,

to drunkenness, associated behaviour and personal attacks.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

11

3.0 Strategic Aims and Initiatives

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), through the Northern Ireland

Policing Board’s (NIPB) annual Policing Plan and their own local Policing Plan,

identify the organisational priorities and the priorities of the local District

Command Unit which must be addressed. While these Plans will impact upon

specific criminal activities which arise from night time activity in Enniskillen they

do not address or examine many of the underlying problems which contribute to

crime and anti social behaviour in the town.

Overarching Aim

As has been indicated earlier, the strategy being adopted here is not to promote

the evening economy but rather ‘to build a partnership approach to ensure that

Enniskillen town centre can continue to develop as a vibrant and family orientated

area, whilst ensuring that visitors and inhabitants feel safe and that the town is a

place where everyone can visit and enjoy themselves’.

The initial group, which met at the ‘Your Community – Your Concern’ Conference

on 24 May 2004, identified a number of issues to be addressed.

· Consumption of alcohol

· Closing times – people emptying out onto the street at the same

time

· Fast food outlets

· Transport

· Policing the streets

· CCTV

· Education/Training

These core areas have been examined and initiatives identified which have the

potential to address the underlying problems in Enniskillen’s evening economy.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

12

INITIATIVES

OBJECTIVE – TRANSPORT

To improve how people get to and from the town centre

Transport to and from Enniskillen is an essential part of the evening economy

and contributes to the safety of the late evening visitor to the town.

The Partnership examined two possible systems of late evening transport

· A Late evening bus service

· Improved use of taxi services.

Those who contribute to the late evening economy are not just drawn from the

Enniskillen town area. The provision of a late night bus service has inherent

problems for a wide, predominately rural district.

1 To provide a bus service that could remove as many as 50 revellers from

Enniskillen town at one time would be welcome. The difficulty with this is that

this transfer of individuals may only move the problem from one town to

another.

2 There is concern for the safety of the individual. Those who would use a bus

service and are dropped off in a town or village face the additional difficulty of

getting transport home. This would be particularly difficult for those who live

on the rural periphery of towns.

3 There is also concern regarding the behaviour of those using the bus service

and the safety of other passengers and bus service staff.

An improved taxi service with taxi ranks and proper rank supervision has the

potential to provide a rapid and safe dispersal of the late night revellers.

Following a survey of the principal taxi firms in the Enniskillen town area, DRD

Roads Service has examined the possibility of establishing taxi ranks for the

town. Two areas – in Paget Lane in the centre of town and on the Irvinestown

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

13

Road to the east of the town – have been identified. Roads Service has

commenced procedures to amend legislation to establish the two taxi ranks. It is

anticipated that these will be in place by the end of June 2005 provided the public

consultation process yields no objections.

The introduction of taxi registration plates in 2004 for registered taxis will have

gone some way to removing the operation of illegal taxis in Enniskillen. The

problem has not entirely been eradicated but the establishment of taxi ranks will

help identify those vehicles, particularly those operating in the town centre, who

are plying for public hire. The PSNI has undertaken to closely monitor vehicles

that appear to be plying for hire illegally.

The possibility of a late night bus service for Enniskillen town has not been

discounted by Ulsterbus. This has the potential to be developed to compliment

the use of taxis.

OBJECTIVE – FAST FOOD OUTLETS

To provide safe and controlled hot food facilities in the town area

Enniskillen has 17 hot food outlets, popularly frequented after a night out.

Statistics and anecdotal evidence have shown that much of the anti social

behaviour in the town occurs in the vicinity of these premises. The opening hours

kept (historically as late as 5.00am) has contributed to this problem.

A survey of these premises in the town indicated willingness by all the business

owners to contribute towards the safety of the town, visitors and improve the

town’s reputation. Without exception, all traders agreed to curtail their closing

time to 3.00am, one and a half hours after licensed premises have been vacated.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

14

The authority for licensing hot food street traders in Enniskillen

is vested in the Ulster Farmers Mart under the town’s Market

Rights. The Ulster Farmers Mart authorities have agreed to

confine the operation of street traders to 3.00am and not to

licence any further street traders to operate in the late evening.

All traders, both shop and street, have signed up to a voluntary

Code of Practice with signs displayed in their premises or

vans.

OBJECTIVE ALCOHOL

To improve the individual’s enjoyment of licensed premises

Alcohol is one of the main catalysts that attracts many of the town’s evening

clientele. Historically, it has been shown that attempts to limit, reduce and even

eradicate this activity are unworkable.

There are three elements to the problems associated with licensed premises

· Crime on licensed premises

· The abuse of the sale of alcohol

· Crime and anti social behaviour outside the licensed premises.

Contrary to popular opinion few alcohol-related incidents occur inside licensed

premises. Publicans generally provide good in-house supervision through the

Door Supervisors Scheme [see Training section] and any potential troublemakers

are controlled.

The Federation of Licensed Vintners has piloted a ‘Sensible Serve Programme’.

This programme, which provides training for bar staff, includes training on the

legal responsibilities of bar staff and licensees.

The local licensed trade has already introduced plastic glasses, which remove

the potential for bottles and glasses to be used as offensive weapons.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

15

Statistically, these have been proven to reduce accidental injury on and off

licensed premises.

Enniskillen Licensed Vintners Association currently has an informal alert structure

to inform other vintners to possible troublemakers or difficulties that may arise.

The PSNI, in conjunction with the Community Safety Partnership and the District

Policing Partnership, has a remit for introducing Neighbourhood Watch Schemes.

There is potential here to also develop a ‘Pub Watch’ initiative in Enniskillen town.

Studies in England and Wales have shown that introducing ‘wind down’ or ‘chill

out’ times in licensed premises for the last half hour of drinking time can have a

major impact on subsequent street behaviour. This involves making nonalcoholic

drinks available, providing food, increased lighting and light music. This

could be further explored with the Licensed Vintners Association and

implemented for a trial period.

Crime and anti social behaviour outside licensed premises has been addressed

in several ways.

Fermanagh District Council Bye Laws regulate the

consumption of alcohol in public places in Enniskillen

and the Council is the prosecuting authority for any

breach of the Regulations. Fermanagh CSP, together

with the Licensed Vintners Association and the PSNI,

has developed a ‘Not on the Street’ campaign. Posters

have been designed and displayed throughout the town

and in licensed premises to convey the message that

the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public

places.

An extension of this has been the Street Drinkers programme. Habitual street

drinkers are generally inoffensive and harmless but they can contribute to anti

social behaviour and fear of crime. Funding has been secured and a dedicated

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

16

full-time worker is now employed through First Housing Aid to address this

problem.

Underage drinking has increased partly due to today’s affluent society and is as

much a problem for publicans as for the police. Police carry out routine checks

for underage drinking and Door Supervisors ‘bar’ those who cannot prove they

are over the legal age to drink alcohol. The provision of late night police beat

patrols should help to address this problem [see Policing section].

School formal dances have presented new opportunities for underage drinking.

After a particularly vicious attack on a 14-year-old who had attended a school

formal and was waiting outside a hotel for a taxi home, the PSNI developed a

programme to brief head teachers, hotel owners and senior students on current

legislation and their responsibilities in respect of such functions. Uniform police

have visited all school formals since that incident and there have been no further

problems.

OBJECTIVE – POLICING

To provide adequate resources to police night time activity in Enniskillen

‘Policing’ in the traditional sense is essential not only to control crime and anti

social behaviour in Enniskillen town, but also to address the fear of crime. A

visible police presence is essential to the sense of well being of those out on the

streets in late evening and early morning.

The PSNI has reviewed its strategy and policy on resource deployment and

enforcement. Police duties have been altered to enable high visibility policing at

critical times. Additional resources have been utilised by the deployment of office

staff and the reintroduction of a four-section police duty pattern. The PSNI is

satisfied that this change will provide adequate resources at key periods. The

reintroduction of a beat presence in the town centre during late evening should

have significant symbolic and operational benefit.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

17

The PSNI has also developed a ‘zero tolerance’ policy, coupled with high visibility

policing, to address anti social behaviour in Enniskillen town area. Police

anticipate that this deployment will impact significantly on those few individuals

determined to cause a disturbance.

OBJECTIVE – CCTV

To examine the use of CCTV as a tool to address crime and the fear of

crime

CCTV has proved to be a useful tool in combating crime, anti social behaviour

and the fear of crime in urban areas. Crime and anti social behaviour has been

reduced by up to 50% in those urban areas in Northern Ireland which have CCTV

schemes in place.

On 14 June 2004, the Northern Ireland Office announced that additional funding

of £2 million would be made available for town centre CCTV systems to “help

areas across Northern Ireland become safer places to work, visit and spend

leisure time”. It was indicated that CCTV has “played a significant part in

contributing to the more active night-time economy and regeneration of town

centres.”

At a public meeting held on 15 September 2004, Enniskillen business

representatives and Fermanagh District Council agreed to pursue the concept of

a CCTV Scheme for Enniskillen town centre and an Expression of Interest Form

was submitted to the NIO Community Safety Unit.

Council appointed consultants, Waring M&E, carried out a study of the town and

estimated that the capital establishment costs for a five-camera scheme would be

£145,000. The Northern Ireland Office and Fermanagh District Council agreed to

meet this capital cost.

Annual system costs were estimated at £45,000 per annum. Fermanagh District

Council agreed to meet one third of these costs (£15,000) subject to the

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

18

remaining £30,000 being provided by local traders. The Licensed Vintners

Association agreed to fund almost £7,000 of this.

The funding commitment for the scheme required from the private sector has

been confirmed and confirmation of central funding is currently awaited from the

Northern Ireland Office.

The Fermanagh Community Safety Co-ordinator has examined the possibility of

establishing funding for a Radio Link Scheme for Enniskillen businesses. This

would compliment the CCTV Scheme and other Pub Watch or Businesses Watch

Schemes by alerting businesses to crime and criminal trends in the town.

OBJECTIVE - EDUCATION/TRAINING

To provide essential facilities and customer care/staff training and in

partnership provide education on the inherent problems associated with

alcohol abuse

Fermanagh District Council, the Licensed Vintners Association and PSNI

instigated a co-ordinated training scheme for Door Supervisors that has since

been adopted across Northern Ireland. This scheme provides training for Door

Supervisors and licensees on their ‘duty of care’. A Sensible Serve Programme

being organised by the Federation of Licensed Vintners will provide a similar

programme for bar staff.

As has been previously indicated, locally Enniskillen’s night time economy is

perceived to be a mono-culture dominated by young people and binge drinking.

It is therefore essential that the younger generation is educated on the inherent

problems associated with alcohol abuse.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

19

The PSNI, together with Fermanagh

Licensed Vintners Association and the

DPP, ran a poster competition for Year

10 post primary schoolchildren in the

District. The competition entitled ‘Youth

Against Alcohol and Crime’ was widely

supported and the winners’ posters

were displayed in the Clinton Centre

Art Gallery. The overall winner’s poster

was professionally reproduced and

displayed throughout the town area.

In terms of education, the DPP decided to concentrate on anti social behaviour

and invited children from post primary schools in the District to write and produce

a play looking at anti social behaviour from a young person’s perspective. The

plays were staged in the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen on 22 February 2005.

The PSNI Citizenship and Safety Programme is aimed at both primary and post

primary schoolchildren in the District. Alcohol and Drug Education is provided for

every Primary 7 and 8 student. Year 14 post primary schoolchildren are targeted

through the Drugwiser Project at Drug and Alcohol Seminars.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

20

4.0 Funding

Funding for the delivery of this strategy has already been put in place and is

provided by

· Fermanagh District Council

· Fermanagh Community Safety Partnership

· Fermanagh District Policing Partnership

· Northern Ireland Office (Community Safety / CCTV)

· The private sector led by Enniskillen Retailers

· PSNI

· DRD (Roads Service)

· And through partnership working with evening venue operators in the town

centre.

Any further development of this strategy will require additional funding to be put in

place.

ENNISKILLEN AT NIGHT – AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

21

5.0 Next Steps

There is opportunity for formal collaboration between the ‘partners’ identified in

this strategy and other relevant stakeholders, perhaps working through the

Fermanagh Community Safety Partnership or a town business forum, and to

develop the full potential of the integrated strategy.

Additional areas which could be developed are

· Examination of the possibility of a late night bus service

· Exploration of the feasibility of a ‘wind down’ / ‘chill out’ time in licensed

premises when light music would be played and food and non-alcoholic drinks

made available

· Examination of the possibility of establishing a Radio Link Scheme for

Enniskillen businesses

· Provision of safe, secure, well lit and attractive evening public car parks

· Where appropriate, enhancement of street lighting, focusing on key walking

routes and ‘dark areas’

· In all future developments in Enniskillen town centre, ensure that crime is

‘designed out’. The Planning Team should work closely with the Police

Architectural Liaison officer to ensure this

· Examination of the possible use of taxi rank shelters

· ‘Management’ of the location of any future new evening venues for fast food

outlets, taxi offices, licensed premises, etc

· Provision of appropriate training for taxi staff.