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Second attempt at ‘late night levy’ to control violence in Milton Keynes

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Plans are being put in place to ensure future control of late-night drinking in Milton Keynes with hopes it will be backed by the council following its rejection last year.

Thames Valley Police are now reassessing how it polices its night-time economy, which will see a proposal put forward - for the second time - for a late night levy in the town.

The levy enables licensing authorities to charge late-opening alcohol suppliers so that additional policing can be paid for.

Detective Superintendent Barry Halliday claims he has no intention of ‘stifling’ businesses, but instead wants to ensure the people of Milton Keynes are safe - and says he will not apologise for that.

It is his belief that the introduction of the levy would help reduce the town’s violent crime, after figures were released showing there have been 99 more offences in the last 12 months.

Det Supt Halliday said: “From the minute it was rejected, the work started on the next proposal.

“The only reason I am pushing this is because it is the right thing to do; it’s not about stifling businesses.

“The levy would allow us to effectively support the policing of the night-time economy alongside out partners, Safer MK, and help to reduce violent crime.

“It’s the right thing to do to make sure we let everybody, right up and down the country, know that we’re safe.”

Det Supt Halliday says he will travel to Newcastle, where the first late night levy in the UK was introduced in November last year, to see how the city is benefiting from it.

He added that Thames Valley Police have been working hard to learn from last year’s rejection after a ‘very close margin’ lost them the bid.

He said: “From a police perspective it is our responsibility to put that forward and I make no apology for that.

“I am confident it will be successful for lots of reasons. I think we learnt a lot through our previous submission and we have now seen it implemented in other parts of the country.

“I have already been in touch with the Commander in Newcastle and they are now starting to see tangible benefits.

“When we last submitted, it was of course new legislation. It was a bit clunky and I think the principals behind it were accepted by the council, but the view was - was it right for us at that time.

“Part of that scoping process was that we didn’t have anything tangible to hang our hat on; what do results and success look like.

“Our bid is going to continue to say that we will hand over every single penny of that levy to the Safer MK partnership so that money is spent on doing exactly what we promised to do, which was mitigating risk and doing all we can to prevent offences occurring in the first place.

“This is about safeguarding our people who come and play; we need to look after our residents right in the heart of Milton Keynes, as well as the people who come in their thousands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“I think that is something that will help us focus on our violence.

“We know we need to work around our violence but the reality is that Milton Keynes is a safe place to come to and if you think we have a slight increase of 99 offences over a 12 month period, putting that into perspective, it is something that we can comfortably address.”

 

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