Police in Cornwall say a decision to ban mankinis and other “inappropriate clothing” from their town has helped significantly reduce anti-social behaviour and recorded crime.
Officers in Newquay say the resort is shedding its reputation as a haven for drunken revellers and stag parties as a result of the zero-tolerance approach to risque fancy dress.
Some visitors to Newquay, including children as young as 15, have been sent home as a result of anti-social behaviour, while older fun-seekers have had skimpy costumes seized by police – including mankinis, a thong-like male bathing costume popularised by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s spoof documentary character Borat.
In an interview marking the end of a successful summer season, Devon and Cornwall Police Superintendent Julie Whitmarsh said the town had come a long way in the last three years, thanks to concerted efforts to help clean up the town’s reputation.
“We have had this consistency of seizing inappropriate items of clothing, sending people home to get changed, and that has worked, it has made a real difference, this ’no-nonsense attitude’,” said the 47-year-old.
“Mankini is what we term ’offensive clothing’, so we won’t accept people wearing them. They are just hideous.
“Is it just me, but if you were living in Bath for example, or Bournemouth, is that something you would wear to walk into town on a Saturday afternoon? No.
“They are just revolting, there is nothing pleasant about seeing anybody in a mankini. We have had a real crackdown on the fake penises. And people are getting that message. You look at the images you see of Newquay now, 2009 is three years ago and we are in a very different place.”
The tough stance has been part of the award-winning Newquay Safe campaign, which was launched in the summer of 2009 following the deaths of two teenagers who died following separate, drink-fuelled nights out in the town.
Residents – many of whom were angry at Newquay’s apparent descent from a family-friendly holiday destination in the 1970s to its image as a modern-day Mecca for drinkers – marched on the council buildings in an impassioned plea to “take our town back” from the clutches of anti-social tourists.