New council leader urges Essex Council to turn street lights back on during World Cup

News / Mon 9th Jun 2014 at 02:22pm

THE NEW leader of Harlow Council (elect) has urged Essex County Council to heed concerns over public safety and turn the street lights back on over the World Cup.

Cllr Jon Clempner’s call comes after mounting concerns that with domestic violence levels spiking during football tournaments (by up to 31%), vulnerable victims may be reluctant to flee from their homes because of the pitch black circumstances outside.

There are also concerns that the darkness may hamper emergency service vehicles from getting to victims as they cannot see the door numbers.

With a number of pubs open until 1am and many people intent on watching the game at friends houses, there is a concern regarding overall public safety.

Cllr Clempner said: “While Street lights are under the control of Essex County Council, I have spoken to very many Harlow residents who have genuine concerns about the street lights being turned off between midnight and 5am.

The fact that the first England game against Italy will be kicking off at 11pm, and a number of pubs will be staying open to allow customers to watch the game, as well as many others visiting friends, will undoubtedly lead to an increase in people being out and about after midnight.

In these circumstances I would urge Essex County council to review street lighting during the World Cup, in conjunction with the Police and other emergency services, and make sure that local residents concerns are addressed. It would seem sensible to leave street lights on during and after England games, and I understand that this would be straightforward to achieve.

“It would be surprising, and of some concern, if Essex County Council has not considered the public safety issues arising out of late games”.

YH asked the Harlow police commander, ch insp. Justin Smith if he has requested to have the lights switched off.

Ch Insp. Smith said: “I have made no such request to Essex County Council and although we have low levels of crime in relation to licenced premises (and we expect only 6 pubs to stay open that have TV’s) I note the point in relation to the potential for increased foot traffic from people houses.

“However, I have sent the question through to our operational planning department (who are co-ordinating all World Cup policing) to see if they have any views and to ascertain if the question has been raised with ECC at a strategic level”.

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