Centre helps drunk youngsters stay safe in Northampton

image captionThe centre allows police to support crime victims and help others who have drunk too much

A town centre "safe space" for young people who have had too much to drink has been opened by police.

Officers will staff the centre at weekends, based in a cafe run by Northampton University's student union.

They can support victims of crime without needing to go to a police station, and look after others who need help when nights out have "gone wrong".

It follows the murder of a 20-year-old barmaid in the town in 2016 by a man who promised to get her "home safe".

PC Chris Stevens from Northamptonshire Police said the "welfare and safeguarding hub" is designed to help people "when a night out has gone a little bit wrong".

"It's just to give them a bit of support to get them home safely and to avoid them becoming a victim of harm," he added.

The centre, at Platform Cafe in George Row has quiet areas where police can talk to people privately and shower facilities.

image source, Northamptonshire Police
image captionIndia Chipchase was raped and murdered by a man she met outside a nightclub in January 2016

A man was jailed for at least 30 years for the rape and murder of India Chipchase, 20, in Northampton after they met outside a nightclub in January 2016.

Sentencing Edward Tenniswood, 52, the judge said Miss Chipchase "was vulnerable and he took advantage of her vulnerability".

Insp Dave Rayfield. said: "Dreadful things can happen but, with this centre, if someone is seen in public to be vulnerable, they can be brought here, looked after and then get back to their families in safety.

"It's somewhere police officers can come without leaving the town centre and speak to people somewhere quiet, that's not in the middle of the street, giving them a bit of privacy."

The centre will initially be staffed by police officers and provide basic first aid but it is hoped other partners will provide more medical services in future.

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