Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The most striking thing about these figures is how low they are...


Bradford's Telegraph & Argus has revealed the findings from a 'freedom of information' request relating to the number of offences recorded at individual licenced premises in the city. Now we should note that the approved narrative when discussing crime and drinking is to use terms like 'drink-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour' accompanied by a load and judgemental implied 'tut'.

So how much crime is there - of any sort - recorded at Bradford's busy city centre pubs and clubs? The answer - although the newspaper doesn't report it quite this way - is close to bugger all. The worst venue - a busy bar/nightclub - witnessed a staggering 23 offences during the year to 26 March 2015. That is less than one a fortnight. Given the bewildering array of possible offences (at times it seems the police can arrest anyone for anything) available to the enforcement authorities we should, rather than tutting about crime, be celebrating just how incredible safe Bradford's night life has become.

The truth is that, with violent crime at the lowest levels since the 1970s and consumption of alcohol (whatever the health fascists want to pretend) at similarly low levels, going out on a evening in a place like Bradford is pretty safe. Of course this isn't the same as saying it's pleasant but that's an aesthetic judgement not a matter of personal security - there will be plenty of swearing, oodles of testosterone and plenty of drunkenness but what there won't be is that violent crime the police and other assorted nannying fussbuckets want you to believe is inevitable wherever people (and especially young people) gather to party.

We should be celebrating - with a large drink, of course - the fact that licensing reform and the promotion of sensible drinking has resulted in a turnaround in the safety of our town centres. Instead newspapers in search of a cheap headline, scaremongering politicians and assorted fussbuckets still present it as if our town centres are places of untrammelled behaviour, dangerous places of utter chaos. This is complete nonsense. But I guess that's always sold newspapers!


1 comment:

Steve Manthorp said...

I take your point, Simon, but if Bradford hopes to successfully introduce European-style family city centre living - which to my mind would be an unalloyed Good Thing - we still need to recognise and address the city's 'fucking and fighting' night-time culture. Nobody wants to live in the heart of the city if they have to wash vomit from their doorstop every weekend morning. That's not a legislative change, but a cultural change. But it will never change at all if people in authority don't recognise it and work towards enculturing that change.