Blackpool should “change” the kind of tourist it attracts in a bid to combat anti-social behaviour, a Government
minister has claimed.
Policing Minister Damian Green MP made the remarks after taking questions on crime and policing from an audience of more than 100 people at Bispham Conservative Club.
They quizzed him on issues including policing numbers, and the effects of alcohol on crime in Blackpool town centre.
And speaking to The Gazette after the session, Mr Green said it was up to local politicians and businesses to play their part in tackling the mentality of tourists and transients who commit crime in the resort.
He highlighted the example of Margate, in Kent, which has seen a downturn in crime since the building of the Turner Contemporary Gallery.
He said: “It’s for the local authorities to say ‘if we don’t want that to happen then we’re going to change Blackpool’s appeal’.
“It’s not a matter for the law.
“The town will know what type of market it wants, it’s up to local government and traders.”
He added: “Somebody local may well have good ideas about how to bring in visitor attractions to bring in a different type of visitor, so you get a more mixed tourist economy.”
During the debate, hosted by Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, Mr Green was also quizzed on the effects drug and alcohol abuse have on crime, particularly crime committed by young people.
He claimed: “Young people are more respectable and sober than their parents.
“Drug and alcohol use among young people is significantly smaller than drug use in the 70s and 80s.
“Some people are shaking their heads but those are facts.”
His comments were met negatively by the audience, but he defended them after the meeting, adding: “Young people are more responsible than previous generations have been and I like standing up for young people.
“I will continue to say this even if they don’t believe me.”