Cheers without the fears

PUBS AND clubs have joined together to help improve night time safety for revellers. Licensees and police in Hitchin have been working hard to revitalise the town s pubwatch scheme and it is now up and running. The majority of the licensed premises in the

PUBS AND clubs have joined together to help improve night time safety for revellers.

Licensees and police in Hitchin have been working hard to revitalise the town's pubwatch scheme and it is now up and running.

The majority of the licensed premises in the town centre are now connected by a radio link, which also includes the CCTV control room at Stevenage.

This will enable them to share information about incidents and troublesome drinkers.

The committee meets once a month and will be able to make the decision to ban persistent troublemakers from all pubwatch pubs.

There have been two previous attempts to establish a pubwatch scheme in the town but committee chairman Mark Papotto, licensee of Bar Absolute in Sun Street, is confident this one will be a success.

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He said: "It will prove to be a very useful tool in making Hitchin a safer and better place.

"I think essentially it sends a very clear message to the public that if you cause trouble on premises that's radio linked, the rest of the radio-linked premises are going to know about it.

"It's not about policing our pubs but improving Hitchin as a whole and making a much safer night time economy."

Mr Papotto has been instrumental in getting the scheme on its feet and his efforts were rewarded with a certificate of good work from Hertfordshire Police.

Insp Phil Wright said: "He's done ever such a lot of work on top of his busy commercial schedule.

"He has been enthusiastic and committed to the revitalisation and has in effect set up a completely new, effective watch."

Insp Wright added: "Hitchin is a safe place and incidents of serious violence are rare but I'm confident this will make a significant contribution to making it an even safer place.

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