The Harrogate district’s Night Marshals will continue to patrol the town centre for at least the next 12 months thanks to the Safer Harrogate Community Safety Group, who have set aside £20,000 in funding to ensure the future of the service.
The Night Marshal scheme was introduced to the Harrogate district in November 2011 after a three-year grant was secured from the Home Office. Additional funding over this period was provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner, however this ceased in March 2015.
With the scheme’s future in doubt, the Safer Harrogate Community Safety Group, who felt that the service had a positive impact on the night time economy and offered good value for money, have stepped in to provide the required funding for this valuable service.
Over the last three years a team of four Night Marshals have been present in the district, two of whom have patrolled Harrogate town centre on Friday and Saturday nights between 10.00pm and 4.00am when licensed premises are at their busiest. Their role has been to support police officers, provide a reassuring presence on the streets and intervene when necessary at an early stage to prevent alcohol-related violence.
The Night Marshals wear a uniform, which includes a high visibility reflective coat, and carry radio handsets, which link them to the CCTV control and other radio users such as door supervisors and the police.
The service will continue to be provided by Professional Security in Leeds, which will ensure that the Night Marshals have experience of working the district’s streets and are well known to door staff, the police and CCTV Control Room personnel.
Councillor Margaret Atkinson, Chair of the Safer Harrogate Community Safety Group said: This project has proved to be successful over many years and partners were committed to ensuring its continuation. The Night Marshals provide the much needed high visibility presence. It is common sense to continue with what works and makes a real difference. Finding the funding was a priority and during the process we were encouraged by the genuine level of support for the project from the licensed trade, taxi companies, police, council and street pastors. This is a project that really makes a difference and we will continue to explore how we keep the project going in the future.
Chief Inspector Jo Brooksbank from North Yorkshire Police said: From an officer point of view, Night Marshalls work well with us; they have apprehended suspects causing problems and have protected officers whilst we have been dealing with violent offenders. We genuinely believe that where we have the right individuals in post, they are an effective tool, helping kerb unacceptable behaviour from drunken people, and acting as good witnesses in investigations.
They aren’t affected by the general policing problems that officers are often called away to deal with, and can direct CCTV to flash points and interact with potential problem makers in a non-threatening manner.
We know that simply seeing a high visibility presence can have an instant psychological effect on inappropriate behaviour and they provide such reassurance.
Their reactive capability is to their credit when door staff need an intermediary to help them effectively manage their premises due to unhappy clients, and where their efforts are not effective they are a central control point for directing police officers.
Further information on the Harrogate district Night Marshal initiative can be found at: http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/pp/Pages/Community-Safety-Night-Marshals.aspx