DOOR staff in the town’s pubs and bars will be equipped with video cameras from this weekend.
The new scheme was launched on Wednesday (September 4) at Summerfields Business Centre in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour by revellers in the evenings.
The Body Worn Videos (BWVs) were demonstrated at the launch, of which six, each costing around £170, will be put to use this weekend.
Police officers in Hastings and the rest of Sussex have used BWVs for the last year for evidence gathering in situations involving anti-social behaviour.
Inspector Chris Veale said: “Six cameras have been distributed already as part of a pilot and after five weeks we will review and get feedback from premises supervisors and licensees to gain an understanding on whether this scheme proves beneficial.”
PC Chris Trevena said: “This is another tool for getting the best evidence and you can’t get better than video evidence.”
Police and representatives fro Hastings and St Leonards Barwatch meet once a month to discuss ways to make the town’s night-time economy safer.
In order to reduce the number of evening incidents they decided to introduce BWVs to help reduce crime and protect door staff from injury or false allegation.
Peter Eldridge, chairman of Hastings and St Leonards Barwatch, said: “We, as an organisation, are progressively moving forward and the introduction of these new cameras will be a huge advantage to the man on the door.”
Cllr Jay Kramer, chairman of the Safer Hastings Partnership (SHP), said: “This initiative led by the SHP is the first of its kind in Sussex and Sussex Police is one of the first forces to implement its use. The purchasing of the equipment has been funded by the Joint Action Group and licensed premises will pay a small rental fee for the upkeep of equipment. The safety of residents and visitors in our town during the evening is a key concern and we are very hopeful that the introduction of BWVs will deter unacceptable behaviour and prevent incidents from occurring.”
Chief Inspector Paul Phelps said: “Using BWVs for door staff is innovative and Hastings is the first place to use BWVs in this way. The support from partners and members of Barwatch is to be commended as we continue to look for new ways to reduce crime and make our town safer. After an initial trial, feedback was positive, so I’m looking forward to reviewing this initiative over coming months.”