To receive any questions from Members of the public in accordance with Standing
( Note: Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)
Mr Richard Carrington asked the following question:
I would like to ask the committee, why the late-night security marshals have been removed from the Chapel road taxi rank in Worthing town centre, this was initially funded from the police funding and in part from the town council, there is also a separate fund from the Government, "get home safely at night", that the police have or can be given to help with funding, the security was there to prevent and help incidents from happening before they happened, maintain order and keep the public safe at night, especially lone women, when waiting for a taxi at night, when the security marshals were removed last time around during the lock downs, there were assaults on taxi drivers, the public and vehicle damage, due violent outbreaks, again the security have been removed from the town centre and members of the public have been assaulted on the taxi ranks, waiting for taxis, it is imperative that the security are put back in place, not only to prevent incidents happening, before they happen but to keep order and to protect the public and maintain a safe environment in the town centre, so the public can continue to feel safe coming to the town on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Licensing Officer answered on behalf of the chair:
The scheme was instigated by Sussex Police in 2005. In 2006, as the scheme was in danger of ending, Adur and Worthing Councils’ Safer Communities Team and Licensing officers stepped in to temporarily oversee the scheme whilst a sustainable approach could be identified. During this time it was funded through contributions from late night venues and taxi drivers. This temporary arrangement actually continued until early 2020 until Covid 19 and subsequent lock downs.
The scheme was paused during lockdown and as the town opened up and Covid funding became available, it was agreed that in recognition of the financial burden the late night businesses had faced, the Council would temporarily fund the scheme from June 2021 until the end of June 2022, using the existing provider.
The Council is aware that the scheme is valued by all stakeholders, particularly the police and taxi drivers. Initial discussions with PubWatch and the Town Centre Initiative have been unable to secure funding and administration for the scheme's continuation.
As it stands, funding has now ceased but we are aware that the taxi marshal scheme benefits those operating in the late night economy, the licensed venues and clubs that attract thousands of visitors every weekend. Ensuring a presence in the town and safe dispersal all contributes to people feeling safe and happy to spend their time enjoying the opportunities in the town centre.
The Taxi Marshal scheme is not paid for by the Police or through taxi licence fees but as a council we value the scheme is recognised and continue to work with partners to identify future funding which is something that continues to be explored for a future provision.
At this stage if incidents occur a report to the police who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order. Non-emergency calls can be made on 101 or website https://www.police.uk/pu/contact-the-police/report-a-crime-incident/ or anything heated, violent or immediate danger call 999