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Disappointing start to taxi scheme

PUBLISHED: 16:17 11 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 08 July 2010

Emma Knights

Just two people took advantage of the free late night taxi service for drinkers in Watton during the first night of the scheme yesterday.

The police initiative, which is being trialled for three months, aims to curb anti-social behaviour by cutting down on the number of people walking home to places on the outskirts of the town after the pubs close.

Just two people took advantage of the free late night taxi service for drinkers in Watton during the first night of the scheme yesterday.

The police initiative, which is being trialled for three months, aims to curb anti-social behaviour by cutting down on the number of people walking home to places on the outskirts of the town after the pubs close.

The scheme hit the national headlines earlier this week and Sgt Lance Ogbourne, who was behind the idea, today blamed the national media's coverage of the initiative for the reason why so few people used the service last night.

He said: “Unfortunately the national media for their own reasons decided to blow it up out of proportion, put their own spin on it and identify it as “police providing taxis for drunks.” That was never the case. It is a community safety initiative to get people away from the town centre.”

He added: “Because of the label that the national press have put on it people felt uncomfortable about using the service. It was disappointing. It is a really good initiative. It is a shame that the media spin has discouraged people.”

Sgt Ogbourne said despite the disappointing start he was still confident that the service would reduce crime and disorder in Watton.

t For more on this story see tomorrow's EDP.

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