Published: 00:01, 16 July 2017
The boss of a Canterbury security firm has condemned light court sentences handed down to drunks and thugs.
Oli Nonis, who runs Akon Security in St Dunstan’s, has twice this year watched as his staff have reacted to serious incidents in the city centre, only to see the perpetrators walk free from court with suspended prison sentences.
In one, a student pulled a knife on doormen in Whitehorse Lane after he was ejected from a nightspot, while in the other a female bouncer suffered a broken hip after she was kicked by a drunken student in Guildhall Street.
Mr Nonis, 37, said: “Our guys do the job they’re supposed to do and then all we hope is that justice takes its course.
“But it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when people walk free from court. Our guys who put themselves into dangerous situations are not getting justice.
“And it doesn’t matter what the authorities say, the number of serious incidents and the number of people carrying knives is escalating.”
In January, Canterbury Christ Church University student Gideon Wallace pulled a knife on doormen after he was thrown out of the Cuban for vomiting at the bar.
Door staff disarmed him, bundled him to the ground and detained him until police arrived.
The 19-year-old received a six-month suspended prison sentence for possessing a knife and threatening behaviour.
The following month, 24-year-old Cuban bouncer Linda Dubsky’s hip was shattered when she was hit by a flying kick as she tried to break up a fight across the road in Guildhall Street.
Student Ali Ketbi, 20, admitted grievous bodily harm and received an 18-month suspended sentence.
Mr Nonis said: “The reason these things are happening more and more is because the deterrent doesn’t exist to prevent them.
“You won’t stop the hardened criminals from carrying knives, but if the deterrent for all crime was more powerful then perhaps you would stop the kids – the Gideon Wallaces of this world – from going out armed with a knife.
"It’s worrying and I’ve got a lot of my guys now coming to me saying that they want stab-proof vests, which aren’t cheap.”
Police insist that knife crime is not worse in Canterbury than other places and that the city remains a “safe place to live, work and socialise”.
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