Safer Merton plans for a sweeter Wimbledon

Safer Merton, a partnership made up of Merton Council, the police, the Primary Care Trust (PCT), the fire brigade and other agencies, will be offering tennis fans a sweet inducement to be social, sensible and safe this summer.

The team will be joining door staff at Wimbledon’s pubs, clubs and night spots in giving out lollipops to evening revellers as they leave venues, since this is proven to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour after a night out. Merton’s safer transport team will hand out credit-card sized information leaflets containing the Cab-Wise number so that as the summer partygoers leave Wimbledon station, they will have the information they need to ensure they get home safely.

Safer Merton, working with the Pub Watch scheme, successfully bid for £11,000 last year from the Home Office to fund the programme. The cost-effective initiative was first introduced successfully during the festive period last Christmas and will be run at a variety of different times during the year to make sure Merton continues to be a safe and enjoyable place for a night out.

Chief Inspector Mark Payne of Merton police said: “A few visitors can spoil our town centre with drunk and disorderly behaviour. Our residents refuse to put up with drunken behaviour in our town centre and so ‘Be social, be sensible, be safe’ is just part of our plan to prevent bad behaviour in our town, we also have a controlled drinking zone in place and extra police on town centre patrols.

“When we used this ‘be social’ campaign approach last Christmas we reduced alcohol related crime in the town centre by a third. These initiatives should make our town a place to enjoy for all visitors this year”

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community safety and engagement Councillor Henry Nelless said: “We are committed to making sure both visitors to Wimbledon and residents living in the borough can enjoy safe and sociable nights out with their friends and families”.

“We want to encourage people to act sensibly and safely so everyone can enjoy their evenings in the town during the Wimbledon fortnight. We hope that by giving people details of Cab-Wise we will help make sure everyone gets safely home at the end of the night.”