Norfolk Constabulary revealed that during the period of April 2011-April 2012, overall crime was down by 2.5%, despite an increase in violent and sexual crimes. Crimes which fell included serious offences such as burglary (21%), vehicle crime (14%) and antisocial behaviour (24%).

Norfolk’s chief constable, Phil Gormley, was encouraged by the figures.

He said: “These figures show we have had an exceptional year in driving down crime, catching more offenders and improving the quality of life for the public in Norfolk.

“In 2012/13 we will be looking to consolidate on this performance while focusing on working with partners to tackle some of the problems associated with the night time economy, and reduce the violence too often associated with alcohol abuse.”

Combating violence related to alcohol is a key priority in Norwich, as Superintendent Paul Sanford has revealed in papers sent to the city council. Sanford has been forced to remove staff from neighbourhood patrols in order to deal with offences on Prince of Wales Road.

Sanford said: “The growth of the Norwich night time economy puts considerable strain on police resources. I now have to devote significantly more policing hours towards the Prince of Wales Road and surrounding area than I did before late night opening commenced in the city.

“Analysis shows a significant increase in all crime in the night time economy between 3am and 6am in the last three years: this three year period has coincided with the opening of bars, clubs and takeaways beyond 3am.

“This increase in crime has included growth in the number of sexual assaults and serious violence taking place.”

Photo by Ga Chun Yau.