Friday 14 June 2024
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Five mobile police patrol teams to hit Nottingham city hotspots at night on weekends in Operation Castle

A new strategy for policing Nottingham’s night-time economy has been launched as part of efforts to stop disorder happening in the first place.

Randomised patrols are now being complemented by a more targeted approach, with hotspot areas now seeing a higher police presence on Friday and Saturday nights.

The new approach – called Operation Castle – is designed to make Nottingham city centre an even safer place to enjoy an evening out.

Nottingham already has Purple Flag status in recognition of the partnership work that goes on to keep people safe when on a night out in the city centre.

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Despite this, City Centre Neighbourhood Inspector John Lees said Nottinghamshire Police and its partners want to do even more.

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Insp Lees said: “With over seven million people coming into Nottingham every single month, including 70,000 students who are living, working and socialising in the city centre, it is imperative that we’re delivering the highest level of service with the resources we have.

“We therefore carried out some research with the College of Policing and other police forces to see how we might do even better at managing Nottingham’s night-time economy.

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“Having conducted this research, the starting point was to look how we were deploying our resource. In essence, the deployment was two vans – each with a sergeant and seven PCs – carrying out randomised patrols. When a call came in, they would immediately respond.

“This approach meant we could respond quickly to incidents, but it did little to prevent incidents happening in the first place.

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“Our new approach is about putting those early intervention models in place, in order to prevent disorder taking place, as well deploying our resource in a way that is more targeted.

“In doing so, we will be making Nottingham an even safer place to enjoy a night out.”


Under the new Op Castle approach, resources will be deployed over three separate phases on Friday and Saturday nights:

Phase 1 – Early Intervention

Between 6pm and 8pm, Special Constables will join forces with staff and volunteers at Nottingham Trent University and East Midlands Ambulance Service to engage with those who have already started their night out.

The team will typically be deployed to tram stops, meeting areas and big thoroughfares – and within those two hours their role will be to engage with people and provide guidance on how they can go about their evening safely, including where they find help if needed.

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© Nottinghamshire Police

The two hours will also be used to build an intelligence picture that can be passed onto police colleagues who will be policing the city centre later in the evening.

Phase 2 – Hotspot policing + random patrols

At 8pm, the early intervention team will brief the night-time economy inspector so that he or she can make an informed decision on where to deploy resources through to 1am.

Five police units will be deployed. Of these, three units will be assigned two hotspot locations each and will alternate between them, ensuring six hotspots are covered in total. During periods of no disorder, officers will enter venues to build rapport with staff and to check licensing conditions are being adhered to.

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The remaining two police units will carry out randomised patrols.

On top of the five police units, additional resource in the form of student police officers and special constables will also be deployed.

Phase 3 – Static policing

With many pubs and restaurants closed by 1am, the focus moves to late bars and nightclubs – with most revellers now at their final venue before heading home.

The three ‘hotspot’ police units will no longer alternate between two locations and will instead move to a single location, determined again by the intelligence picture.

The other two police units will continue to patrol random areas and be ready to respond to any incident that breaks out.



Inspector Lees said the most significant change was the new hotspot approach in Phase 2.

Explaining the thinking behind this new approach, he said: “Analytic research has clearly shown that if you have a police officer in a hotspot location for 15 minutes, no crime or disorder will take place in that location for an average of 23 minutes after the police officers have gone elsewhere.

“That’s why instead of having two units, we’re now going to have five. The number of officers will be around the same – they will just be spread across more vehicles so that we can do hotspot policing as well as the randomised patrols.

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“It enables us to have three hotspot units and each one will spend 15 minutes at their first location before going to their second hotspot location for 15 minutes. They will then return to the first hotspot for 15 minutes – and that rotation will continue throughout Phase 2.

“That covers six hotspot locations in total, with these locations being determined by information gathered by our intel and licensing teams, as well as the early intervention team deployed in Phase 1.

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“By implementing these changes, I’m very confident it will make Nottingham city centre an even safer place to enjoy an evening out.”

James Hornby, Community First Responder (CFR) Service Delivery Manager at East Midlands Ambulance Service, agreed the new strategy will help keep people safe in Nottingham.

He said: “We want everyone going on a night out to have a safe and enjoyable time.

“That is why CFR volunteers, who respond on behalf of EMAS, will be working in close collaboration with our police colleagues to engage with revellers at the start of their night out in Nottingham.

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“This will include informing people on where to find the most appropriate help for their healthcare needs such as late-night pharmacies and Urgent Treatment Centres.

“We urge people to play their part by knowing their limits and drinking responsibly. Calling 999 for medical help should be a last resort, after you have tried self-care, your local pharmacy, your GP, NHS111 Online and your local Urgent Treatment Centre.

“This ensures our ambulance crews are able to attend the most seriously ill patients in our region.”

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