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  1. Greenport
    Pub scheme praised for fall in crime

    New firgures reveal significant drop in drugs, weapons and violent crime in Edinburgh's pubs and clubs.

    178066-pub-scheme-praised-for-fall-in-crime-410x230.jpg Edinburgh's pubs and clubs have become significantly safer over the past three years, according to new police figures published on Tuesday.

    The Lothian and Borders force said offences including drug dealing and assault have fallen by as much as 94%, following an innovative information-sharing initiative. The UNIGHT project saw 45 late night venues sign up to implement strict rules and share intelligence on drinkers who failed to follow them. Anyone removed from one UNIGHT venue was banned from every nightspot in the scheme.

    UNIGHT member venues have also banned irresponsible drinks promotions and implemented a full ban on 'legal highs' before the emergence of mephedrone on Scotland's club scene.

    In the first three years of the project, officers say there has been an 82.9% fall in drug possession, a 94.6% drop in drug supply and a 90.9% fall in weapons offences.

    The number of serious assaults fell by 35.9% while minor assaults fell by 30.5%.

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "The member clubs of UNIGHT have led by example in tackling binge drinking in Edinburgh by banning drinks promotions that clearly do nothing but encourage people to get out of their heads and I thank them for their efforts.

    "Getting rid of these irresponsible promotions is an approach that is clearly working. It is just one of many good things being done by UNIGHT and a great example of the licensed trade working closely with police to make Edinburgh's night time economy safer and more enjoyable for everyone."

    Bruce Johnston, member of the UNIGHT Chair Group, said: "To have 38.5 % or a 602 crime decrease since UNIGHT began is a great achievement. This reduction is mainly down to UNIGHT's partnerships with other agencies, their policies and their unique banning system."

    UNIGHT is run as a partnership between Lothian and Borders Police, the City of Edinburgh Council, the licensing board and the scheme's member venues. The scheme's key aim is to ensure venues offer a safe and secure environment for those wanting to socialise in the city.

    The scheme has also seen venues provide increased staff training and improve communication between door staff and customers.

    Superintendent Donnie MacKinnon: "Lothian and Borders Police fully recognise the huge benefits of partnership working and the UNIGHT partnership dovetails well into our overall prevention strategy. This collectively has assisted us in making the city of Edinburgh a safer place to work, live and visit."

    Councillor Paul Edie, Community Safety Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "This fall in crime is a tremendous achievement and shows that effective partnership working can have a real impact in making Edinburgh's nightlife a safe environment.

    "It also reinforces a recent survey which put our fantastic city in the top ten of places in Europe to visit for nightlife. When you consider the huge number of visitors who come to Edinburgh these figures are a true testament to the measures put in place to make the Capital such a safe place to visit."

    Last updated: 18 May 2010, 10:26
    http://news.stv.tv/scotland/east-central/178066-pub-scheme-praised-for-fall-in-crime/

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