It costs £4,500 to police a busy night out in Derry and the bill will rise by close to a thousand pounds an hour if the opening hours are extended.
The cost of policing nights out here was revealed by former G District Commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin, at the Stormont Communities Committee, which is currently considering the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill.
Chief Superintendent Cargin, now with the force’s Legacy and Justice Department, said: “You are probably aware of the nighttime economy operations that police officers generally run from about 11pm to 3am. In Derry, for example, 57 officers are on duty for that. That averages out at 285 hours and costs around £4,500 each night.
“Each extra hour will cost about £912, and, after 3 am, the officers are entitled to claim overtime, so there will be an additional cost,” he said.
Meanwhile, Derry licensing officer Constable Paul Larkin has revealed he regularly attends clubs and pubs in the city, including on Hallowe’en night, to ensure licensing laws are being obeyed.
It was suggested putting one person undercover inside a bar was a better way of enforcing the law than putting five or six people outside a pub.
Constable Larkin agreed: “I do that regularly in the Derry city and Strabane area; I dress casually and go into a lot of the nightclubs just to observe.
“It has reached the stage where they know that I am there sometimes, especially on big nights. In Derry city, Hallowe’en is a big night, so, every year, I am inside licensed premises.
“They now know that I am there most nights and that, if I am not there, I am outside or five minutes’ walk away from a lot of the big places. I am there quite regularly. We have had to remind them a few times that I am there, but, by and large, they act responsibly.”