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City centre safe says police chief

THE new police chief responsible for Chester has denied that the city centre is increasingly seen as a hotspot of public disorder.

Supt Nick Ingram

THE new police chief responsible for Chester has denied that the city centre is increasingly seen as a hotspot of public disorder.

On Wednesday last week, dozens of teenage yobs ran through the streets, fighting among themselves and attacking foreign students.

As reported in The Chronicle, six overseas visitors were injured in two separate incidents, prompting an apology from city council leader John Price.

But Supt Nick Ingram, who assumed operational responsibility for the Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston Division on Monday, believes the city centre remains a safe place to visit at weekends.

'I'm a resident myself and I regularly come into the city centre in the evenings,' Supt Ingram, 38, told the The Chronicle. 'It's a vibrant place, with clubs, pubs and bars, but it is somewhere I'm happy to come with my partner.'

Supt Ingram, who worked for Merseyside Police for 15 years before transferring to Cheshire in 1997, declined to compare safety issues in Chester with other major nightlife centres such as Liverpool.

But he stressed he was not aware of any suggestion Chester suffered by comparison.

'If that is people's perception, it is feedback we must take on board and look at. But if you look at the statistics, Chester and Cheshire are very safe places to live.'

Asked about the number of bobbies on the beat on weekend evenings, Supt Ingram, a former beat officer himself, said foot patrols were not, in themselves, a simple answer to all policing issues.

'Patrolling can be very, very useful, but it is about utilising policing where it is going to have the most effect.'

Supt Ingram said 'intelligence led policing' was vital to ensure resources were used most effectively.

'You can see that on race days when the number of police is much higher. The potential for disorder is there with people perhaps drinking more than they should.'

He also stressed the importance of 'sector policing', where dedicated inspectors and a team of officers are responsible for specific geographic areas.

An official launch of the sector policing strategy, under which Insp Paul Draycott covers Chester city centre, is planned for next month.

Asked whether he had enough resources, Supt Ingram said: 'Everybody always says they would like more resources.

'As professional police officers, we have the resources we are allocated.'

He added: 'It would be easy just to give people platitudes and say we will put more bobbies on the beat and then not do it, but we are trying to be honest with people.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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