Street pastors praised

PC Gareth Nicholls shows Paddy Tipping  Morpho drug testing

PC Gareth Nicholls shows Paddy Tipping Morpho drug testing

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A police tzar has praised a late night volunteer initiative for helping to reduce the number of fights on the streets of the county.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said deterrent drug testing equipment and street pastor patrols are visibly helping to reduce harm among people out on the town.

On late-night walkabout in Newark Mr Tipping saw the drug testing equipment in action at a town centre pub, and also joined the Newark and Sherwood Street Pastors whose patrols have helped to reduce under-age drinking and fights.

“These are two simply excellent and invaluable additions to the work done by Nottinghamshire Police and its partners in keeping people safe when on a night out with their friends,” he said.

The MORPHO drug testing machine is set up outside pubs and used as part of a condition of entering the venue.

It works by customers’ hands being swabbed and then passing through the machine to detect traces of drugs.

A positive result may lead to a drugs search and refusal of entry.

“This serves as a deterrent to anyone carrying drugs as they don’t try to enter pubs. It also results in further preventing the possibilities of crime and disorder,” Mr Tipping continued.

He also spent some time out with the Newark street pastors during his fact-finding tour.

The street pastors have become a regular sight in Newark on Fridays and Saturdays, with fights and injuries on the streets being noticeably fewer since Mr Tipping awarded them funding for their work over the past two years. Also during that time, under-age drinking on the park in Southwell has vanished.

The commissioner added: “The street pastors give their time voluntarily helping people, who are often vulnerable and/or under the influence of alcohol with practical assistance. While there will be many a reveller who has been grateful for their timely assistance, the street pastors are also a reassuring presence to everyone who wants to enjoy a safe night out.”

These initiatives, which have been robustly supported by the commissioner, form key elements of his county alcohol and substance abuse strategy.