Late night closure of Belvoir Street, Leicester, sees fall in crime
The pedestrianisation at weekends of a street busy with bars and clubs has been hailed a success.
The five-week trial has led to a drop in the number of incidents being reported to police.
Belvoir Street, in the city centre, has been closed to traffic from 10pm to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the trial period, concluding last weekend, to make it safer for people enjoying a night out.
Police said that over the four weekends prior to the trial, 14 incidents – mainly public order – were reported to officers.
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But during the first four weeks of the trial, that fell to a total of five incidents being reported to police, including public order and drunk and disorderly issues, and one incident of assault causing actual bodily harm.
The figure for the final weekend was not available yesterday.
Chief Inspector Adam Streets, the officer leading the operation, said: "Early indications show that the closure has been really successful and there is no doubt that it has increased public safety.
"On top of that, in the first four weeks of the pilot we saw a 65 per cent reduction in crime and incidents being reported on the street, compared with the four weeks before."
The police have worked with the city council, Gateway Business Association and the Highways Agency on the scheme.
Ch Insp Streets said the force would now talk to the groups involved to make a make a full evaluation and "hopefully make the closure permanent".
James Conaghan, general manager of the Mercure Hotel, in Belvoir Street, said the closure had been good news for the area.
He said: "We are definitely behind any plans to keep the closure in place.
"We have seen a real difference in the atmosphere and there has been a dramatic change in the noise you can hear from inside the hotel, which is a great benefit to our customers."
Nick Taylor, manager at the Fat Cat Cafe Bar, said: "Our takings were up on a couple of weekends and we've noticed a better atmosphere in the street, with people walking from bar to bar without having to worry about traffic."
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "The last five weeks have shown us that closing Belvoir Street to traffic on weekend evenings has had a positive effect, including a drop in reported crime and a safer atmosphere for people."