August 29 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
A pioneering plan for a private “milita” to scour the streets tackling “rivers of urine, vomit and drunken lawlessness” was passed last night – despite criticism they will be nothing more than a “Dad’s Army”
The Late Night Levy – a tax on boozing after midnight – has been in the pipeline for months but was officially given the nod at a full Islington Council meeting and could raise up to £1.5million.
The cash, raised from any club, bar or restaurant that wants to sell drink after midnight, would then be used to hire a private security force to mop up drunks in alcohol-fuelled violence hotspots.
But independent Cllr Greg Foxsmith says the idea is ill-judged.
He said: “There was a puritanical zeal with which Islington rushed to be the first borough to introduce a private security force which sadly will be less of a New Model Army and more of a Dad’s Army.
“The one thing that all councillors agreed on was that the council and police had lost control of the streets, describing the night time area as flooded with “rivers of urine and vomit” and high levels of drunken lawlessness.
“Labour have introduced a business tax which will impact hugely on small, quiet family pubs but make no difference to huge drinking clubs like Fabric. Instead of letting the police tackle the problem, they want to recruit an militia to patrol the streets, hugging drunks because they can’t arrest them.
“Councillors are already dreaming of the photo opportunities as they pose with their private police force, the big question is whether their uniforms will resemble paramilitaries or holiday park red-coats.
He dubbed the security guards Convery’s Army, after Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety.
Cllr Convery said: “It’s disingenuous to say they won’t be able to do anything – these will be a trained, uniformed patrol who have enhanced powers, more than just citizen’s arrest. They can detain with maximum but still legal of force.
“And even if it was just citizen’s arrest, how many people do you actually hear of doing that? These guys will.
“In terms of this tax not affecting big venues and hurting small businesses, how many quiet, family run pubs actually stay open after midnight?”