Chief Insp Paul Winter column: Mansfield is becoming a safer place

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How many of you took advantage of the long weekend to enjoy a night out in Mansfield?

The last few Saturdays have been some of the busiest weekends of the year in town and Easter has been no eggception (groan – my only pun I promise).

I’ve worked in Mansfield for five years and over that time I’ve watched the town’s reputation steadily improve.

Along with Mansfield Partnership Against Crime and our other partners we have continually made efforts to ensure the town is a safe and pleasant place to live and socialise.

The fact there is a bid to win a Purple Flag is testament to these efforts and has only come about thanks to real team work.

Purple Flag is an accreditation scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town centres at night. It can be seen as the equivalent of the Blue Flag awarded to good beaches.

Mansfield’s application was submitted to the Association of Town and City Management in January with inspectors visiting earlier this month and a decision to follow in June.

Inspectors commented on how impressed they were with early intervention work – such as police using dispersal order to remove those who drink to excess, British Transport Police intervening with groups at the station, good relationships with licensees, work of CCTV and cleansing, regeneration and planning.

We’ve been trying to let you know about the regular nights of action we’ve held in the town centres as well as operations we’ve run such as Operation Peggar – to target shoplifting and Operation Oatcake – to target underage drinking and drug abuse.

A recent covert operation showed how a dummy handbag that was deliberately left in three bars and clubs was handed in to staff on every occasion – highlighting the town’s honesty.

We now need to await the decision, which will be made in June, but until then I’m sure you will agree that with the help of the public and partners we are making Mansfield a safer place for a good night out and we are starting to banish the outdated reputation that it has as a place to avoid in the evening. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in the efforts so far and look forward to a decision in the next few months.

In other news older residents are to be given a belated Easter treat in the form of a fish and chip lunch this Thursday (24 April).

Residents will gather at Brunts Charity, in Champion Crescent, to meet with local councillors and Police showing new engagement tactics to ensure we listen to residents’ needs and views – especially those who are more isolated.