Huddersfield Street Angels are part of a campaign to keep people safe over Christmas - read the article here.
In the summer of 2009 Newquay's image was in tatters. The town was known as a hardcore party resort where anything went. Thousands of teenagers made post-exam pilgrimages to the Cornish coast to drink until they passed out, while gangs of stags and hens marauded through the streets, making the town a no-go area after dark for families and couples.
Then two teenagers died falling from cliffs, while a third was seriously injured - all in the space of a few days. Suddenly time was up on Newquay's days of dangerous debauchery.
"I can't describe what it was like when the under-18s were coming," says Tracy Earnshaw, who was involved in campaigning to change the culture of the resort.
"Indecent exposure was the norm. You used to ring Newquay police and not get much response."
In 2009, Tracy lived with her young family in Newquay town centre. Life was pretty tough - they struggled to sleep at night due to the noise, were only able to drive "bangers" because of the number of times wing mirrors and wipers were snapped off, and were trying desperately to sell up and move away.
Her campaigning took up a lot of time.
"My focus was mostly the underage drinking and lap-dancing clubs which contributed to the antisocial behaviour," she says."They were just all feeding on one another and people were not being held accountable. There was a lot of vested interests and a lot of turning a blind eye."
Now she is pleased nobody wanted to buy her home and is glad she still lives in the town. She becomes emotional talking about how things have changed.
"It has been quite a phenomenal change, actually," she says.
"The less stag groups that came, the less anti-social behaviour there was. You stopped finding knickers in your front garden."
In the immediate aftermath of the deaths in July 2009, residents like Tracy rose up and marched on Newquay Town and Cornwall councils, demanding an end to the permissive culture in the town.
Soon measures were brought in to try to ensure young people's safety. Newquay Safe - an award-winning partnership between the council, police and about 20 other agencies - was set up and schemes like a bar crawl code of conduct, Challenge 25 and alcohol-free under-18s club nights all aimed to tackle the resort's problems.
At the time, Insp Dave Meredith was relatively new to the top policing job in Newquay. Tracy says Insp Meredith, who is retiring at the end of the month, was "instrumental" in changing the culture of the town.
"He didn't really care who he upset by simply doing his job," she says.
"I would say he was the first person who actually looked at the problem and decided something should happen.
He wasn't shy about going into licensed premises and saying 'what is going on here?'"
Insp Meredith says Newquay is "absolutely a different place" today.
"It was sort of a Wild West town back then," he says.
"It was just power drinking and fighting and all that… I knew it was going to be a really challenging job. It is great that we have moved forward in 10 years from something that was causing concern to a lot of people. It was 10 years or so of hard work."
He describes himself as "very forthright" and says he was an advocate of "robust" action.
He says one thing he looked at was the town's lap-dancing clubs. He found there was "compelling evidence showing issues with them".
"That is why we decided to take them to licensing review," he says. "I think Newquay is a far safer place with the closure of these lap-dancing clubs."
This summer for the first time in many years Newquay's nightclubs and campsites did not run any dry nights for under-18s because there were no longer enough coming to make it worthwhile.
Insp Meredith says there is now a "very robust policy making sure that under-18s don't go into pubs and clubs". He says they work very closely with the licensees.
"They realise it is not worth risking their business by letting these people in," he says. "These days we don't have a real problem with underage drinking."
Another change has been what is acceptable for people to wear while out drinking in Newquay.
A mankini ban has been credited with helping to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour. Insp Meredith says this was never a police initiative but rather the venues banding together and deciding they no longer wanted customers dressed in that way.
Inflatable genitalia and T-shirts bearing offensive slogans were also prohibited in a code of conduct for the Newquay Pubwatch scheme, meaning people wearing or carrying such items would not get into venues signed up to it.
Robin Jones is one of the faces of the new Newquay - a town of upmarket cafes, wine bars and yoga studios. He owns a wine and tapas bar and says life and holidays here have become more family-orientated.
Robin says he would not have wanted to live in Newquay in 2009 but moved to the town seven years ago and loves it.
"It is such a beautiful place around the beaches and the coastline," he says. "I think it was massively let down by the town identity and the culture that went with it. House prices have risen dramatically and I think that is attracting a different sort of person to the town. There happened to be three wine bars all started up about the same time three years ago."
He says he thinks their success is down to Newquay's new clientele wanting somewhere a bit more upmarket.
The entrepreneur says there are fewer stag and hen dos now and those that do come and dress up tend to get turned away. "A lot of the businesses won't let them in any more," he says. "I feel a bit sorry for them because they are walking around with nowhere to go to.
"All the people that come in the bar say what a different town it is and how much nicer and calmer it is."
Tourism data from Visit Britain shows Newquay does not appear to have suffered a big drop in visitor numbers since the changes. The tourism survey indicates there were 526,000 visits to the town in 2009 and 441,000 in 2010. Between 2016 and 2018 there was an average of 487,000 visits each year.
Debbie Anderson-Jones has also noticed how much calmer Newquay is. She started volunteering as a street pastor a decade ago and has seen the worst the nightlife had to offer.
The street pastor scheme has now ended and these days she runs Pirans Angels, which offers a similar service on a reduced number of nights.
Of the drinking culture, she says: "It started on a Saturday afternoon and [you used to think] if we are going to town we have got to get in and out before they start... by 10pm people were like 'you need to get off the streets because all hell will break loose'."
She says they are now seeing far fewer people on the streets who have made themselves vulnerable through drink, and anyone who causes trouble is effectively instantly banned from all the other venues.
"If someone is difficult in one club, door staff and the cameras work together to identify that person and that group and relay that message to every pub and restaurant," she says. "If you are kicked out of one place you are not getting in anywhere. We will say to them 'I just heard what you did, you are all on CCTV, you might as well go home now'."
Debbie says the stag groups that still come are different from their predecessors and seem to want to do other activities as well as drinking.
As for Tracy, she says her life has completely changed.
Recounting incidents of being flashed at and meeting a 15-year-old girl wandering the streets after being raped, she says she can't quite believe how much is different, and credits the change to the right people being in the right places at the right time.
"I think a lot of people will forever be grateful to Dave Meredith because he made a difference," she says.
"These kids who were 15 and 16 were here to get hammered without any accountability... it was grim and we were made to feel guilty if you had a problem with it.
"You had to be really resilient. We always knew we were right and what was happening was wrong. It was unacceptable and actually it was against the law."
An empty city-centre shop has been transformed into a pop-up safety shop for one day only by Humberside Police.
The force has teamed up with Trinity Street Angels, Renew and Safer Roads Humber to bring the first of three Hull City Centre Safety Group Christmas Pop-up events.
The series of events has been launched by the new City Partnership team which aims to rid the city centre of its anti social behaviour issues.
The team is run by Chief Superintendent Darren Downs - who is responsible for policing across Humberside Police's north bank.
it will include representatives from police, British Transport Police, Transpennine Express, Hull City Council, Hull Bid and Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), with local traders and homeless charities also invited.
Wednesday's pop up event is being held until 3pm in the empty retail unit 23 - formerly Card Market - adjacent to Car Phone Warehouse on King Edward Street and focuses on the theme of "socialising safely."
The team will also host a second event on Wednesday, December 11 at Hull Paragon Interchange.
Chief Superintendent Darren Downs said: "This event is one of a number of pop-up events designed by our city centre working group.
"We wanted to educate communities about protecting themselves and not making themselves vulnerable during the festive period.
"The event is for the community, but also for businesses and we will be talking to them about some of the challenges they face."
Renew are promoting mocktails and encouraging responsible drinking,. while Safer Roads Humber are highlighting the dangers of drink driving.
Trinity Street Angels will be there to promote their work and offer advice, including how to get home, based on experience of supporting vulnerable people in the nighttime economy.
Humberside Police are promoting personal safety crime prevention and staff from British Transport Police will also be there.
Latest news from CNI Network including #GivingTuesday2019 and #UKCharityWeek
As part of #UKCharityWeek we are hoping to increase the amount of regular givers to CNI Network so we can continue in our mission of giving support, resources, celebrating and marketing the work of local projects and delivering initiatives such as Festival Angels. Please would you consider giving a small amount each month to support our work - our bank details are below to set up a monthly donation. If all those who read our newsletter and followed us on social media gave £2 a month it would cover all our monthly core costs and allow us to grow. Many thanks.
Co-Operative Bank, WN8 6WT - Sort Code 08-92-99 / Account Number 65462379 / Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives
Friday saw the five CNI Network projects in Cleveland celebrate 10 years of work in the Cleveland area. Throughout the evening we heard from each of the five projects who shared about how they were set up; told stories from patrols over the years; and about ways they have developed the work they are involved in. Steve Sutton from 'Transforming Teeside Together' encouraged the volunteers to be salt and light in the communities and for the people they serve. Paul and Jean Blakey on behalf of CNI Network, presented Steve Brock with a vase to honour and thank him for the 10 years he has invested to CNI Network nationally and regionally. We also enjoyed Christmas Carols with the help of the Salvation Army band. The evening ended with cutting a cake which had landmarks from the 5 towns - Guisborough, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Stockton - as well as a scene of Street Angels helping a young lady.
Following a successful funding application to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, this year’s newly trained Woking Street Angels now have smart polo shirts to wear when they are on duty during the summer. By wearing these shirts, Street Angels helping on the streets of our town will be easily identifiable when it is too hot to wear their hi-vis jackets.
Members of Woking Street Angels met with David Munro, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, to thank him for the funding. David Munro said: “I am delighted to present these shirts to Woking Street Angel's new recruits. I am proud to support the fantastic work of the Angels, and this will enhance their visibility even further in support of safer weekend nights in Woking."
The University of Surrey has given a welcome boost to Guildford’s Street Angels as they launch a collaboration to support the well-being of young people in the town.
Lisa Dimbylow, the University’s Public Engagement Manager, presented Rev Noelle Coe, the Town Chaplain, with a massive cheque for £2000 to support the work of the charity.
Noelle thanked the University for their support adding: “The Chaplaincy is thrilled and most grateful to receive this support for our Street Angel project. As a university town, Guildford has a diverse and multi-cultural community with a large proportion being aged under-25. This number is also swelled by the young men and women attending nearby military training establishments. So, as you might imagine, many of those our Street Angels help are young people enjoying a night out in the local pubs, clubs and bars and who, for a variety of reasons, become vulnerable. Street Angels are equipped to assist and care for these people who might come to the attention of the Police or end up in A&E. We work closely with Surrey Police, Guildford Borough Council, Experience Guildford, Pub Watch and other organisations within the local community. We are particularly delighted to have entered this special partnership with the University of Surrey to enable us to better support the well being of young adults in our town, especially those who are living away from home for the first time. We look forward to working closely with them over the coming years to keep people safe and keep our fabulous town peaceful”
Paul Blakey MBE and Acting Inspector Marie Reavey were featured on BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme on 1st December as part of a feature on #FaithAndPoliceTogether - listen at 16:50
#FaithAndPoliceTogether launch 'Faith Communities Guide to Working with Police' (download here)
It has been over twelve months since I started work on the Faith and Police Together (FnP) project at the end of September 2018. Over the last 12 months I have spoken with, reviewed and visited many organisations across the country that are helping to tackle the key FnP priorities of Addiction, Youth Violence and Loneliness. I have been given the privilege of having a further 12 months secondment to continue this work, promote and embed Faith and Police Together, for which I am very thankful to my Chief Constable Mr Bailey.
Today I am pleased to release the culmination of the last years work “The faith Communities Guide to Engaging with Police”. This guide is a PDF document and has very useful information about ways in which Faith communities can engage with and support the local police with practical guidance around the areas of addiction, youth violence and loneliness and more. It is not an exhaustive list but includes many organisations, ideas and projects that can inspire and support faith communities to set up a project in partnership with the police and other statutory agencies.
I do hope you will find it informative and useful. Please do circulate it far and wide amongst your contact.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and contributed to this work over the last year. I very much appreciate it and look forward to working with you all over the coming 12 months.
Inspector Marie Reavey - #FaithAndPoliceTogether
Just over 14 years ago we had this thought that the 'Wild West of West Yorkshire', Halifax town centre on a weekend evening, needed people who care to offer love and support to those who became vulnerable. As Christians we believed our town centre deserved better than this Wild West image! We approached Churches Together and the YMCA with the idea of opening a cafe they ran between 9pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. They said yes! We then approached the police who said an even bigger YES and asked if we could start something 2 weeks later - Friday 25th November 2005 (the start of the busier Christmas season and the day the licensing laws changed).
We said ok - not much else happens for people involved in church communities at this time of year! Our initial aim was to run a safe place drop-in cafe. A team of 6 committed to this and we turned up not having a clue what we were doing or what to expect! Amazingly 50 people turned up that night to volunteer - people from church communities across Halifax who believed our town deserved better than the binge drink, sexual assaults and violence that seemed to be so prevalent on weekend nights.
With too many people to just sit in our small cafe we decided (with permission from the police) to offer patrols alongside the safe place drop-in and Street Angels was born!
It worked! Helping over 60 people in our first 6 weeks and with Police, Home Office, media, business, church and community support we carried on once our 6 week trial was over.
This simple idea to help our town centre contributed to a 42% reduction in violent crime within 12 months! Other town and city centres were watching and started to visit to see Street Angels in action. By the end of 2007 we had supported 26 communities to set up similar projects with much of this growth coming via Police and Local Government encouragement to the local church to replicate what they are doing in Halifax!
In July 2008 we started the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network - we sensed that what we were about was bigger than a name (Street Angels) and we wanted to offer support and resources as well as celebrate all that God was doing through His church, community partners and volunteers in the night-time economy. By the end of 2008 we had grown to 36 projects within the CNI Network family and 29 interested towns across the UK and overseas. We also connected in 2010 with the amazing NightLight in Northern Ireland and Street Chaplains in Scotland who were running long before us!
Our journey is an amazing story of faithfulness to a vision and the willingness to grow and develop as the vision increases.
We are now at around 130 local projects - working on the streets, in clubs, at festivals, around train stations, at sporting events, with communities and with young people.
Collectively the CNI Network family have: received awards; met with Royalty and Prime Ministers; expanded the concept; become one of the 21st century missionary movements as we export overseas; featured on TV, radio, magazines and newspapers; held several conferences and receptions; seen crime and anti-social behaviour reduced; and, most importantly, equipped thousands of volunteers to impact local communities and people through the simplicity of loving the person in front of them!
As we celebrate 14 years, and enter our 15th year, CNI Network honours and thanks all those who are within our family - all those who volunteer, pray, support, organise, fundraise and keep quiet on Saturday and Sunday mornings to allow those who have volunteered to sleep!
CNI Network is the church and community working together to help make our streets like new again. We have helped and assisted tens of thousands of people, picked up tens of thousands of bottles, handed out countless pairs of flip-flops and stopped numerous fights with the offer of a lollipop! Thank you to all who are part of the 14 year adventure!
Paul Blakey MBE - founder / CEO Street Angels, CNI Network
Below a cartoon based on Northallerton Street Angels drawn by Chris Bambrough....
We have recently welcomed Summer Nightlife Outreach into the CNI Network family. They run mission teams in European summer resorts - check out summernightlifeoutreach.com for information and to sign up!
Donate to the work of CNI Network here
Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network:
Registered Charity 1136416 / Company Limited by Guarantee 07173090
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Postal Address: CNI Network, The King's Centre, Park Rd, Halifax, HX1 2TS
E-Mail: email@example.com (founder / CEO) / Phone: 07725501465