Bouncers in Norwich's notorious nightclub district have been given the power to issue on-the-spot fines without consultation with judges or magistrates.
Now they fear the move could undermine attempts to deter persistent trouble-makers in the city's Prince of Wales Road area where two men have died this year.
The Norfolk police initiative, aimed at training and accrediting members of the community to bolster their work, has seen selected door-staff given powers more commonly associated with police officers. Though the force insists the scheme will only add to law enforcement on the streets - already enhanced by an increased frontline presence - there are concerns that the powers could be misused and may only gloss over serious offences.
Concerns centre on Prince of Wales Road as it once again becomes infamous for alcohol fuelled violence as thousands of young people from across the region visit to enjoy the area's pubs and clubs on a night. A 23-year-old man is currently in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with serious injuries after an attack outside the Qube nightclub following the deaths of 46-year-old Phillip Ward from Drayton and 30-year-old Timothy Moore from Norwich. Paul Allen, chairman of Norwich magistrates, said the “bouncer” scheme had been introduced last October but had only now come to the attention of JPs - and police did not consult with either magistrates or judges before introducing the powers.
I wonder if Norwich Police will get to keep some of the "takings"? *wink*