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London’s night life champion takes in the delights of Romford town centre on a Friday night

PUBLISHED: 11:45 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 24 February 2018

Night Czar Amy Lame meeting Romford police officers and Street Watch members in South Street on Friday night. Photo: Havering Council

Night Czar Amy Lame meeting Romford police officers and Street Watch members in South Street on Friday night. Photo: Havering Council

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London’s very own Night Czar visited Romford last night (Friday, February 23), to learn about how the Havering Community Safety Partnership has gone about making the town centre safer.

Night Czar Amy Lame was given a tour of Romford on Friday night. Photo: Havering Council Night Czar Amy Lame was given a tour of Romford on Friday night. Photo: Havering Council

Amy Lamé was appointed the champion of the capital’s £26billion night time economy by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2016.

And this weekend, she came to Havering to get a first hand glimpse of the work being done by Havering Council, the town centre policing team and a whole host of other partners.

Speaking at a welcome reception hosted at Romford’s new Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre, Ms Lamé said: “I was appointed in November 2016 to help London become a thriving, safe 24-hour economy, and that means all over London – so it’s not just about Zone 1.

“It’s very much about every single borough in the capital.

London's Night Czar, Amy Lame, visiting South Street on Friday. Photo: Havering Council London's Night Czar, Amy Lame, visiting South Street on Friday. Photo: Havering Council

“While we are all faced with certain challenges, and I assure you that the challenges you’re facing here in Romford are challenges that boroughs are facing all over London, you are not alone in those things.

“What is important is that we find innovative solutions to these challenges.

“What is proved here is that this borough clearly has such an amazing partnership approach to everything it is doing, so I’m here to learn and see what you’re doing and take those best practices away with me to City Hall to inform the mayor and our policy makers and hopefully just shout about what a great job you’re doing here in the London borough of Havering.

“I look forward to seeing what you have to offer, but also to carrying on the conversation and strengthening the relationship between Havering and City Hall, so thank you very much for showing me such a warm welcome.”

Met Police Superintendent Mark Long speaking at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson Met Police Superintendent Mark Long speaking at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson

The Night Czar was also able to meet a number of the town centre’s police and licensing teams, local councillors and the Romford street pastors, who celebrated 10 years keeping the borough’s partiers safe last year.

Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for environment and community safety, was one of a number of council representatives present on the night, which he said was “a fantastic opportunity to showcase the excellent work being delivered in Romford town centre.

He said: “The night time economy brings many positives to our borough, from job creation and spending in our local economy to provision of a diverse range of activities for local people including restaurants, cinemas, bingo halls, ice discos, the whole shebang.

“But like most things in London, Romford is changing as is its night time economy.

Cllr Osman Dervish speaking at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson Cllr Osman Dervish speaking at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson

“As we’ve seen tonight the new ice rink has a capacity of 800 for ice hockey games, and the opening of three new restaurants at The Brewery Centre means that the borough’s night time economy is diversifying and growing, bringing with it greater challenges around accessibility, keeping visitors safe, and maintain cleanliness regimes.”

Cllr Dervish also admitted that in the past coming into the town centre has been “daunting” to certain age groups, but stressed this was something the authorities were keen to remedy.

Superintendent Mark Long of the Metropolitan Police was also present for the Night Czar’s visit.

The senior officer insisted that Romford’s town centre, which entertains more than 11,000 people aged 18-25 every Friday and Saturday night, “is really important to the police.

Tom Fletcher of Everyone Active showing Amy Lame arount the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson Tom Fletcher of Everyone Active showing Amy Lame arount the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Friday night. Photo: Matt Clemenson

He added: “We commit resources to the town centre to make sure that everybody can actually take advantage and be safe while they’re in this town centre.

“We have a big commitment to the town centre, and I hope that this evening [Ms Lamé] will see some of the activities we’re involved in, but the police service is only a very small part of what is a much bigger partnership – it’s very much about us all working together so that people can come out and have a good time.”

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