Specials out to combat payday drunks
SPECIAL constables have been running extra patrols to combat Cheltenham's pay day drunks.
A team of seven volunteer officers were on call throughout last weekend as part of a scheme to bolster police resources at the end of the month.
It came as officers voiced concerns Cheltenham's night time economy was being endangered by people blowing their monthly wages on alcohol, leaving a trail of chaos in their wake.
Problems associated with pay day include an increase in fighting and vandalism.
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Section officer Richard Godfrey, who is running the initiative, said it had got off to a good start.
"Our special officers were on duty at the weekend and we were able to deploy them to wherever they were most needed," he said.
"It went very well. In the event there was little in the way of incidents to direct them towards.
"But, nevertheless, they looked to have a maximum presence in the community while they were out.
"There was one arrest for violent behaviour and three warnings were issued.
"Above all there was a lot of engagement with youngsters because, being half term, there were a lot of them about."
Under the operation, a team of specials will be on call at the end of every month, with their next mission in Cheltenham scheduled for Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1.
Richard added: "We do see a spike in anti-social behaviour towards the end of the month, linked to the night time economy
"Hopefully having specials out on patrols during those times will have an impact on reducing that.
"As we move towards Christmas it's important to maintain a strong presence in the community and this will be a valuable part of us achieving that aim."
Under the operation, the specials are given rapid response vehicles, enabling them to be at the scene of any incident as quickly as possible.
Colin Pilsworth, who works with Cheltenham Nightsafe – a support network for staff at the town's pubs, clubs and late night restaurants – welcomed the move.
He said: "Like anywhere, things can occasionally spill over when there are a lot of people out in town at the end of the month.
"If this will help keep a lid on things and provide people with an element of reassurance, then I'm all for it."
A total of 183 special constables in Gloucestershire give up their free time to support the regular force.
While on duty they wear a uniform and have full police powers.