Sunday, November 4, 2007

Policing Whitby

There are already concerns with policing in Whitby and this weekend saw a large increase in police presence but still a goth was assaulted as mrntioned here:

Goth's ears ripped off by thugs - Have YOUR say on this story - Whitby Today

The police were watching large groups of goths who were gathered harmlessly rather than doing anything useful like patrolling more widely where lone goths might be attacked.

Concerns on goth policing
# 02 November 2007
# Source: Whitby Gazette Friday
By Staff Copy

FEARS have been raised the goths could be "driven out of town" due to a heightened police presence and restrictions over capacity over the weekend, despite no arrests being made.
During the weekend the police were called to just two incidents – the first for a minor dispute at Whitby Pavilion on Saturday afternoon and another at the same venue later that evening when a reveller was ejected for being drunk and disorderly.

And the Resolution Hotel had to stop serving alcohol for half an hour because of the number of people in there. But The Met manager, Karen Turnbull, said on Sunday night three police vans, one with CCTV equipment, were waiting outside at kicking out time despite there being no trouble.

She said: “I think it was totally unnecessary. Obviously we need the police but we keep to our capacity of one in and one out and we have door staff on. I wish I could have the goths every weekend. I think the presence of the police was ridiculous – we have more problems at weddings. They bring so much money going to drive them away if they are not careful.

“I think it’s such a shame. The Goths are such lovely people.

In all the time I’ve been here and that’s five years we’ve never had a bit of bother.”

And Kate Sutton a member of a film crew covering Goth Weekend for also criticised the policing of the event when on Saturday night the Resolution Hotel - one of the main venues which hosts Goth bands and events - was told to stop serving alcohol at around 10.30pm on the grounds that it was overcrowded.

But she said it was no busier than any pub on a Friday or Saturday night and the Goths cannot do right for wrong with them being told to keep inside, due to problems with people spilling into Flowergate. She said Scarborough Council are trying to drive the Goths out and do not appear to want to keep the event, which brings in hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy, in Whitby.

Whitby Goth Weekend promoter, Sam Hoyle said the police presence is purely a numbers game and said he hopes to work more closely with them in the future. He said there was definitely a stronger police presence than in previous years which probably wasn’t necessary but he understood they have to do things “by the book.”

“It’s quite intimidating to the type of customer we attract, although not to me personally,” said Mr Hoyle. I’ve certainly not seen extra police drafted in for a Goth weekend in the past. If they feel they need more police that’s completely down to them.”

Andy Skelton, Scarborough Council's head of environmental health services said during their visit to the Res by police, firefighters and council officers it was noted that the premises were overcrowded, possibly to a dangerous extent.

“The licensee, Mr Dale, sought advice from the senior fire officer attending and voluntarily determined that he would cease to serve alcohol and
that was an end to the matter,” he said.

Sergeant Steve Pearse of Whitby police said: “"There was in increased police presence and a lot of officers on patrol, simply because of the increase in the number of people in the town over the weekend. But I would again like to emphasise the exemplary conduct of all the visitors to Whitby. The Goth weekend passed by peacefully and, as is often the case, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. I would like to thank the Goths again for their responsible and respectful attitude and their general good behaviour. I look forward to welcoming them back next time."

Whitby Goth Weekend organisers are introducing a new wristband system this April after the building reached its full capacity, despite tickets not selling out.

People on the guest list were accomodated in a separate function room downstairs so everyone could be allowed entry.
If those Police were in Whitby they were off the streets in Scarborough/Middlesborough or somewhere else where they were actually needed or they were being paid overtime. Particularly ironic as North Yorkshire police are facing a massive budget cut:

MP to fight £10 million police 'cut' - Scarborough Today

Bobbies lose perk of their free boots - Scarborough Today

In fact they are so strapped for cash they can’t afford to provide boots for their officers. Perhaps a goth boot fund for the police should be organized to donate used DMs/New Rocks… at least then the three van loads of police will fit in a bit better.. of course there are other things they could be doing see recent crimes in Scarborough like this:

Lead theft: organised gang fear - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

Whitby Jo had some very interesting comments on this issue:

It was a bit of a strange one though

We had our first ever Gothic Shoplifters (say it in the manner of Peter Kay a la Garlic Bread) which Whitby police sent TWO transit vans to the Spa for (must have been a quiet afternoon)

We had TWO episodes of Goth violence at the Spa on Saturday night
The first involving someone who couldn:t get in (he had hoped to be on a bands guest list but wasnt) and threw a bottle through the window by the cloakroom
The second being a very intoxicated person (in a throwing up inside the venue kind of way) getting very upset on being asked to leave who consequently assaulted three bouncers and got himself arrested

And not forgetting what i can only describe as slightly heavy handed tactics by the licencing dept of Scarborough Council on Flowergate with Uncle Len at the Elsinore and at the Little A I appreciate there are laws to be adhered to and even why those laws are in place but it seems a little strange after thirteen years that they are enforcing capacity limits on the two pubs where it all started

I do hope that the same treatment will be given to the pubs and venues in town during the summer season

We asked for a meeting between the council and police about this matter and the meeting and subsequent decisions were all made without the input of either ourselves or the landlords concerned apparentely it would have been a "waste of time" to invite us!!!!!
This article from the Gazette seems to indicate it will hopefully be better by next year:

And a meeting is planned in the next couple of weeks with licensing officers, police and the fire service, licensees, highways and the borough council to work towards a solution for the problems in Flowergate where in the past people have gathered
outside the pubs to drink in the streets.

Last weekend doorstaff were on hand at the Resolution Hotel, the Elsinore and Little Angel who restricted the number of people allowed into premises to prevent them exceeding their capacity. Mr Hoyle said they had tried to seek a road closure for the latest event but he said the council had dragged its feet.

"Next April will see big changes and there willl be no repeat of the situation in Flowergate.

"Although it doesn't actually affect us the Elsinore and the Little Angel are the original home of Whitby Gothic Weekend and we feel we owe them for helping us get to where we are today. If it wasn't for them it would have fallen away a long time ago.

"We are doing our best to work towards a solution for April."

This increasing policing and admin hassle for the event has been discussed before see the post :

Whitby policing and street blockage April onwards

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