Christmas crackdown on Islington’s festive revellers
PUBLISHED: 06:33 04 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:47 08 December 2014
A private army of security guards will be unleashed on the streets to keep drunken revellers at bay this Christmas.
From this weekend, the uniformed team will be out and about at hotspots known for alcohol-fuelled violence – such as Upper Street, Farringdon and Highbury Corner – as a result of the Late Night Levy.
The levy, passed by Islington Council back in February, is expected to raise £400,000 to deal with the borough’s rampant night-time economy by charging bars, restaurants and off-licences who want to sell alcohol after midnight.
The cash will be used to fund the security team, as well as a new sergeant for Islington Police.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “We thought this was a good time to put it in place. The proof will be in the pudding.
“We wanted to get cracking over the tough Christmas period when a lot of people are out.
“People that fall over drunk will, for the first time, have men and women in uniform there to pick them up and sort them out.
“Police on a 999 call would police wouldn’t have time to do that.
“And people who are drunk and causing trouble will be dealt with.
Islington has 1,300 licenced premises – nearly a third of which are licensed after midnight – and one in 20 deaths in the borough is linked to alcohol.
Cllr Convery said; “The vast majority have coughed up and not changed their hours.
“They don’t like it, but they can see what we are trying to do.”
The levy was first mooted last year in a bid to combat the borough’s late night drinking problems.
The move is being backed by Islington Police.
Chf Ins Ian Howells said: “With Christmas coming up, it’s always a difficult time, with lots of people going out.
“These teams will help us look after situations at closing time.
“They are really good and it’s like an extra pair of eyes and ears for us.”