A ‘City Safe’ campaign for night-time revellers has united the Council, Gardai, local business owners and home-owners this festive season.
They’ve formed a sub-committee of Waterford’s Joint Policing Committee to explore ways of making the city a safe and enjoyable location to socialise. Amongst the initiatives they’ve come up with is night club owners pooling their efforts and their resources to provide more on-street, high-visibility staff to assist patrons as they make their way home, without upsetting residents in the area.
Club owners and publicans, with the support of the HSE, have adopted a responsible serving of alcohol policy and formulated a Waterford Drugs Policy which they say will help staff identify potential drug abuse and ensure that everyone enjoys a far safer, incident-free night out. The partnership also plans to work in association with taxi operators to provide greater supervision and co-ordination of taxi ranks in the city as well as the introduction of a marshalled taxi rank to assist in the safe and comfortable transport of patrons home and the safety of drivers operating in the city.
The next step in the year-round Waterford City Safe initiative will see the roll-out of CCTV in the city and improved street lighting, poster campaigns in pubs and clubs to highlight the dangers of drugs as well as the promotion of responsible drinking. There will also be further, joint efforts to stamp out public order offences and ensure residents in particular enjoy a more peaceful night in the city hub.
The community-wide initiative will have a positive impact in reducing the incidence of such public disorder, according to Garda Inspector, Padraig Dunne. “This is very much a team effort and it is one which will not just happen over the Christmas period but will continue throughout the year
“CCTV cameras are being installed throughout the city at present and much of the groundwork has been completed. We hope to have them all linked in to the central communications unit early in the New Year.”
Bar owner Jim Gordon said door staff at late night venues throughout the city have been linked by radio and will be in constant communication, ensuring everyone has an enjoyable night out and that anyone who is disorderly, creating noise or nuisance will simply not gain entry to any bar or club in the city. Gardai also have a radio unit, allowing staff to communicate directly with officers on patrol in the city.
“The message has gone out now that the people of Waterford will not tolerate disorderly behaviour and the actions of a few ruining a night out for many more. A similar initiative in Cork has been an outstanding success. We hope to build on this community-wide model and develop a template which could be implemented to make all of our cities safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Vinnie O’Shea, Administrative Officer in Waterford City Council, said that the initiative would achieve far more by working together, as has been the case with the Joint Policing Committee which gave rise to the Waterford City Safe campaign.
“This is part of a number of measures that have been agreed by the Waterford Joint Policing Committee to create a safe city. The night time economy plays an important part in these measures. “The main aim for the campaign is to ensure the Waterford people and visitors are able to come into the city, knowing they will be safe, have a good time, and that they will be able to get home in comfort at the end of the night. It is also critical that those enjoying a night out in the city do not impact adversely on the quality of life of residents in the city centre or their own community,” he said.