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CITY POLICE LEAD PUB SAFETY BLITZ; Officers give guidance to other forces.

Byline: LUKE TRAYNOR

POLICE from Merseyside are advising the rest of the country's forces how to manage violent pubs, bars and nightclubs.

The Home Office has recruited two Merseyside officers for a nationwide blitz to keep busy city centres as safe as possible.

Sergeants Paul Douglas and Nick Cowell have already spoken to police in Portsmouth, Southampton and Lincoln about licensing best practice.

And even the Metropolitan police have received the benefit of Merseyside's expertise after officers in Islington listened to one of their seminars.

The two officers talk about police's powers of closure, review hearings and how to deal with 'problem' premises.

Paid for by the Home Office, the training lasts for two days, with councillors and magistrates also receiving training.

The Merseyside officers are set to speak to further police teams in Brighton, Leicester, Hull, Westminster, Cardiff, Burnley, Reading and Slough.

Sgt Paul Douglas said: "We were chosen because of our proactive stance - some forces do not do any licensing enforcement whatsoever.

"The areas selected are the basic command units which have the more challenging issues to address.

"With the number of night-time premises in Liverpool we still manage to keep a lid on any difficulties.

"The city does not feature in the Top 100 areas in the UK for licensing problems."

In recent years, police in Liverpool have taken a tough stance against violent city centre nightspots.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Our alcohol strategy unit is running at least 40 seminars across England and Wales in our 'priority areas' - those areas which suffer from the greatest amount of alcohol related violence and where the public are very concerned about drunk and rowdy behaviour.

"Two highly experienced police licensing officers from Merseyside force, Sergeants Paul Douglas and Nicholas Cowell deliver the operational police training on the second day of the seminars.

"Sergeants Cowell and Douglas have an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the practical application of the enforcement provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.

"They also have considerable experience of sharing their expertise with police officers at previous Institute of Licensing run training events."

In recent years police closed down the 051 nightclub and The Velvet Lounge on Bold Street.

H Bar, owned by Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton, was shut after a stabbing. And strict action has previously been taken against Edwards, off Concert Square, and Devas on Victoria Street.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 7, 2009
Words:393
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