Editor’s column: Out on the town

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It was a great pleasure to join police commander Detective Superintendent Barry Halliday and his team on the streets of Central Milton Keynes last Friday for a fantastic insight into the policing of the city’s night time economy.

We were invited to join the police and volunteers from community group Safer MK following news that Milton Keynes Council had become just the second city in the country – behind Newcastle upon Tyne – to implement a late night levy on pubs and clubs serving alcohol in the hours between 1 and 6am.

The levy could cost some clubs up to £4,000 a year, but the money is going to be well spent on helping to control the streets during the hours that often see a high percentage of crimes committed.

Instead of directly funding the police, the money will be put back into supporting Safer MK with its initiatives to help reduce the level of crime on the streets after dark, while making sure the vast majority of well behaved drinkers make it home safely.

Not only is the presence of police officers and Safer MK reassuring to drinkers not intent on causing trouble, but I was also impressed by their attitude of wanting to prevent crimes happening in the first place – rather than just reacting to them after.

Simon Downes