Brighton: Community group calls for increased security in gay district

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The chairman of Brighton and Hove’s LGBT Community Safety Forum says the city’s gay quarter of Kemptown is fast becoming a no-go area.

Chris Cooke has spoken to the Argus newspaper about crime concerns in the area and particularly on St James’s Street – a main road that’s home to several of Brighton’s gay bars and shops.

Mr Cooke has called for all bars and clubs in the district to either employ door staff or be signed up to a rapid response unit, he said:

“Clearly the area is not safe for residents, businesses and visitors alike, in fact over the last 18 months it has at times been downright dangerous”.

He added: “Not a week goes by without a serious incident. No longer can we say it’s quirky and bohemian – the street is a mess. It is dirty and the daily rat run of beggars, street drinkers and people just out to cause trouble.”

Ben Duncan, the chairman of Brighton and Hove City Council’s licensing committee, responded by saying that door staff were already present at many of the street’s venues, but that he would raise Mr Cooke’s concerns with the rest of the council.

Last week, a 42-year-old man was seriously injured in an attack near St James’s Street.

Sussex Police say the incident is not being treated as a hate crime.

The victim is understood to still be in a critical condition in hospital and two teenagers, who were arrested in connection with the attack, have now been bailed.