New 'Leisurewatch' scheme to help keep theatregoers, cafe customers and cinema fans safe

A ‘Leisurewatch’ scheme has been launched in Sunderland city centre in a bid to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
Sunderland Empire Theatre

Sunderland is already represented by Pubwatch and Shopwatch schemes which aim to improve connectivity between businesses around tackling local crime issues.

The new police-supported scheme, which started to roll out this year, aims to provide a voice to the city’s leisure sector.

“We have had a Shopwatch for years which has won all sorts of regional awards and it’s a really strong scheme and we have had a Pubwatch for years which has been a key part in keeping violent crimes out of the city centre,” neighbourhood inspector, Jamie Southwell, said.

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“But there was nothing really there for the likes of the theatre, bowling, cinema and your cafes and coffee shops, anybody else in the town who didn’t really fit within the Pubwatch or Shopwatch.

“We had the first meeting last week and it was well attended and we will really push it in January and February [next year] to get the number of attendees up.”

Insp Southwell was speaking at Sunderland City Council’s East Area Committee during an update on policing in the area.

He added: “[Leisurewatch] would mean rather than the police, council and others dealing with all of these premises in isolation and feeding it back separately, we can do it collectively.

“As you know we’re all stronger when we work together.”

Similar schemes are in operation in neighbouring areas in Tyne and Wear.