Assaults linked to late-night drinking

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

A rise in assaults has been linked to an increasing number of fights outside bars and nightclubs.

The number of assaults causing actual bodily harm rose from 379 in 2017 to 448 in 2018.

Police had previously expressed concern that a decision to extend opening hours in 2016 could cause an increase in violence.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said his officers were not seeking to have that decision reversed. But he said officers would be working with the liquor licensing board and club owners to deal with the problem.

“We do link with the licensing board to tell them we do have some difficulties in terms of crowds gathering at nighttime,” he said.

“There are flash points late at night and in the early hours of the morning at some of the discos and late-night outlets and we do have some concerns around that.”

He said police increased patrols on weekends and made a lot of arrests for assault and public order situations around bars and clubs. Byrne added that it was important for late-night establishments to have proper security.

“We are not trying to interfere with the economic aspect of it at all. What we are trying to do is ensure we are there when we are supposed to be there and that security and CCTV are working at the premises. Those that don’t provide adequate security, we will deal with that through the licensing board,” he said.

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