Police crackdown cuts city disorder by 23%

TOUGH policing has forced a dramatic fall in the number of incidents involving boozed-up thugs.

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Police and their partner agencies focus efforts on the Golden Z in a bid to cut incidents and keep people safe
Police and their partner agencies focus efforts on the Golden Z in a bid to cut incidents and keep people safe

There have been almost 40,000 incidents in the last five years, but the annual total has fallen by 23% over that time following a clampdown by city centre police.

Our investigation using police figures reveals there were 8860 disorder incidents in 2008 - and 6802 in the past year.

Based on the five-year average of 7953, officers have been dealing with around 150 disorder incidents each week.

High visibility and intelligence-led oper-ations are credited with helping to deter potential offenders and cut the number of alcohol-related incidents in the city.

Inspector Gavin Smith said: "We have already seen major cuts in violent crime over the last year and reducing disorder is a big part of that.

OUR officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to keep people safe while they live, work or visit in Glasgow.

"We have had tremendous support from partners, inclu-ding Community Safety Glasgow, whose community enforcement officers work alongside us on the street."

Senior officers said targeting troublemakers has had an impact on violent crime, which has plummeted by almost 70%.

New figures prove the tactic of hammering "min-or offending" is keeping people in Glasgow safe. Five years ago, there were 225 serious assaults, comp-ared with 73 last year.

Inspector Smith believes forward planning is key to combating trouble, and police regularly target the "Golden Z".

The zigzag area includes Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, and is a hotspot for antisocial behaviour, drunk and disorderly, public disturbances and breach of the peace offences.

Crime across Glasgow has continued to fall since 2008, when Sir Steve House became Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police.

Police and licensing chiefs believe the results are the outcome of groundwork on their relationship with pub and club licence holders.

A Glasgow Licensing Board spokesman said: "The long-term trend shows the city centre is now a safer place to spend time, either day or night.

"Given the hundreds of thousands of people who use the city centre every week, it has always been a tiny minority which has caused trouble. There has been concerted effort across all agencies to improve the city centre.

"Credit should go to all involved in the broad partnership that has helped to deliver these positive results."

AND he went on: "We are also seeing a better relationship between the trade and the police and that makes it easier to root out trouble before it escalates.

"We want people to make the most of the city centre and these figures show they can with increasing confidence."

There is a range of reasons why Glasgow has been getting safer.

It includes new police tactics, including coming down hard on "minor offending", partnership working and increasing police numbers.

The Evening Times previously told how targeting "low-level" offences led to a 70% drop in violent crime.

More than 11,000 people have been caught urinating in public in the last five years.

Almost 1550 people were caught with open cans or bottles in Glasgow city centre in 2008, with this figure soaring by 136%, to 3652, last year.

Meanwhile, violent crime in the city centre has fallen by 68% since 2008. Police believe that if someone is pulled up for "minor offending" they are unlikely to be caught up in a violent incident hours later.

Inspector Smith added: "Police Scotland is expected to deliver a high standard of service to the public - and rightly so.

"We will continue to work hard to deliver this for Glasgow."

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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