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News - 13 August 2008
Teen breath-test reduces crime - but is not enough, says mayor
Crime in a North Wales resort town was cut by more than 20% after youngsters were breath-tested as part of police crackdown on anti-social behaviour. But the local mayor, an ex-policeman, regrets that such schemes are not permanent.
Officers with alcohol testing kits targeted known trouble spots in Colwyn Bay where teenagers were known to gather. If the kids were spotted with drink, they were asked to take a voluntary breath test and if they failed were taken home to their parents.
Between January and the end of July, when Operation Boozebuster was carried out, all crime was reduced in Colwyn Bay by 21% with 211 fewer victims compared to the same period last year. Since the introduction of breathalysers in March, monthly levels of alcohol related crime fell in the town every month other than June. During March-July, there was a 29% reduction in alcohol related crime in Colwyn Bay when compared to the same period last year, including a 50% reduction in juvenile offenders.
The mayor of Colwyn Bay, Phil Edwards, a former secretary of North Wales Police Federation, said “Putting bobbies back in the community and carrying out basic police work not only keeps crime down, but also reassures the public. These excellent crime figures prove the point magnificently. Unfortunately, these operations are one-off hits rather than providing a permanent police presence. When the dispersal orders finish and the police move on to the next operation, the problems inevitably come back.”
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