Crime cash to keep city nightlife safe

w9212a935 Chief Supt. Marc Callaghan (serious)
w9212a935 Chief Supt. Marc Callaghan (serious)

CASH clawed back from convicted criminals could be used to save the city centre nightlife marshals.

The city’s chief of police wants to use £15,000 seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act to pay for the scheme when funding runs out in March.

Ch Supt Marc Callaghan, Wakefield district police divisional commander, made the announcement on Monday at Wakefield Council’s community safety overview and scrutiny meeting.

He said: “What I’m hoping to do with that funding is to buy us time, I’m hoping to buy us at least three months going into the next financial year.

“So it gives us six months from now to get something sorted out.”

The scheme was funded by government through the axed Local Area Agreement.

Ch Supt Callaghan told committee members it costs £5,000 a month to provide marshals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

They work alongside police and the voluntary Street Angels to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder in the city centre.

Committee members urged Ch Supt Callaghan to consider adopting a different funding scheme used in Leeds where bars, nightclubs and takeaway firms pay towards cost of the marshals.

Coun Jean Martin said: “I’ve always been in favour of licensees contributing – I think it’s a good idea. I also think there is very much a need for the marshals.”

All licence holders in the city centre are being written to by the council and police informing them about the funding crisis.

Ch Supt Callaghan said: “I want to reassure this committee that there is a lot of work going on to try to get a solution to this problem.

“It’s something that I’m passionate about and something that I desperately believe makes a difference to the way we police the night time economy in Wakefield.”