Safer Nights in St Helens Town Centre

Last weekend Police Officers in St Helens Town Centre deployed a Drug Itemiser (an electronic on the street drug testing machine) as a condition of entry to licensed premises, when prospective customers have the palm of their hand swabbed. Officers are then able to assess recent contact with illegal substances. Officers can also identify individuals that leave the queue on realisation that this activity is being undertaken. A total of 234 people were tested of which 29 were searched under the Misuse Of Drugs Act, subsequently 5 people were arrested for unlawful possession of a controlled drug.

The aim of this operation is to reduce the number of violent crimes in St Helens Town Centre, both on the streets and within licensed premises. It involves a number of tactics including high visibility walk throughs of licensed premises.Teams of officers are briefed and deployed to busy licensed premises where they look for evidence relating to the misuse of drugs, sale of alcohol to drunk or underage persons and any other breaches of licensing conditions. The operation is supported by St Helens Council and St Helens 'Pubwatch' members.

Councillor Teresa Sims, Executive member for St Helens Council Safer Communities team stated, "This type of positive police action sends a clear message to drug users in the Town Centre that the misuse of drugs will not be tolerated and that police are taking positive action to rid this nuisance from the Town Centre night-time economy".