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Colchester isn’t a no-go area, insists senior cop
COLCHESTER’S most senior policeman has rejected claims the town centre is a no-go area at night.
Chief Insp Paul Wells defended the force’s record of dealing with night-time violence and drunken yobs.
Responding to claims by Colchester Labour Party chairman Jordan Newell, he said rather than mounting, town centre violence had decreased.
Mr Newell spoke out after a teenager was knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack in Culver Street at the weekend. Two other people were also attacked nearby, in the High Street.
He was also referring to the case of Nikki Brewer, who was brutally assaulted in the High Street in 2009, an incident which has attracted recent national media attention.
Mr Newell urged candidates in November’s Police Commissioner elections to make tackling night-time crime a priority.
He said: “I am getting more and more worried at the increasing crime on Colchester’s streets which is inextricably linked to the night-time economy.
“I know the police and council are doing their best to enhance community safety, but the level of disorder I have both witnessed and read about is becoming intolerable.
“Town centres must not become no-go areas at weekends because people are living in fear of crime or attack.”
Top cop Mr Wells admitted he had concerns, but said town centre crime had fallen by 14 per cent in the past year.
He added: “Violent crime in the town centre is down 4 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
“We are working closely with our partners in the licensed trade to reduce levels of violence and I am delighted with the great level of support who have received.
“We have recently been successful in challenging licence extension applications related to the town centre, as we felt they would have had a negative effect.
“We are also working closely with the Army. Officers from the Royal Military Police now carry out regular joint patrols with us.”