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Exeter invests in taxi marshals to help night-time economy recover safely post-COVID restrictions


Image credit: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)

Night-time street and taxi marshals have helped make Exeter a safer place throughout the summer.


The funding for the scheme is part of an overall pot of £350,000 from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The money is aimed specifically at preventing antisocial behaviour (ASB) by young people and creating safer settings for the evening and night-time economy (ENTE) in key areas.


These themes were deliberately chosen to tie in with Devon and Cornwall’s summer policing plan which highlights both ASB and ENTE as potential issues this summer following the COVID unlock on 19 July and increased levels of visitors.


In Exeter, funding of £10,000 has been matched by Exeter City Council, with contributions from other partners including the University of Exeter to give an overall spend of £20,000.


The money will pay for street marshals on Friday and Saturday nights as well as 11 Helpzone nights provided by the Youth Unlimited Church and taxi marshals on Saturday evenings from midnight to 4am, including during University Freshers Week in September.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “I’m aware some of our community are nervous about the spread of Covid during the unlock and may be too afraid to enjoy our beautiful towns, cities and coastline.


“Our experiences last summer showed that dry weather, alcohol and freedom led to some dire consequences. I want this opportunity to be used to prevent the escalation of anti-social behaviour because someone will intervene early setting clear expectations.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of Devon and Cornwall and it’s understandable that both locals and visitors will be wanting to make the most of their new-found freedoms and enjoy the summer.


“However, it’s important this does not veer into criminality or behaviour that can make others feel threatened or vulnerable.


“The measures we are funding will help us keep an eye on both antisocial behaviour and the night-time economy and hopefully prevent any unwanted scenarios, allowing everyone to enjoy themselves.”


Superintendent Antony Hart, Chair of Exeter Community Safety Partnership (CSP), said: “These initiatives will all help to ensure that Exeter is a safe city for everyone enjoying the evening and night-time economy.

“The CSP is committed to reducing ASB and violent incidents in the city, and this funding is particularly timely given the re-opening of many businesses in the city centre, but also the forthcoming anniversary of the murder of Lorraine Cox who was sadly killed following a night out in Exeter.


“Whilst serious incidents such as this remain very rare, having additional marshals as well as safe spaces available help to ensure that assistance is available when people need it, and incidents are prevented from escalating.”

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