PUBWATCH: THE FUTURE
National Pubwatch Conference, High Wycombe, Wednesday 6th April 2005
National Pubwatch is an entirely voluntary organisation set up to support existing Pubwatches and encourage the creation of new Pubwatch schemes with the key aim of achieving a safe, secure drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the United Kingdom, thus helping to reduce drink-related crime.
Its national committee comprises individuals with a wide cross section of experience of licensing issues. This is the second national conference members of this committee have organised, the first being held in London in November 2003.
This first conference took place in November 2003 and was attended by 85 delegates, together with 17 guests. It was opened by Oliver Letwin MP, Shadow Home Secretary and closed by Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry. Further presentations were given by:
Dr Martin Rawlings, British Beer and Pubs Association
Jim Minton, Portman Group
Andy Trotter, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service
Nigel Bailey, Inspector, Cheshire Constabulary and Pubwatch colleagues.
Delegates also had the opportunity to attend two of four Workshops, which addressed:
Engaging in Crime and Disorder Partnerships and Town and City Centre Management Schemes.
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A wide range of positive feedback from this first conference assisted the committee in deciding not only to organise a second conference, but also some of its content. Committee members were conscious that any further conference should be held outside London. Consequently, the John Grieve Centre, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, High Wycombe was chosen as a suitable venue, this Centre being named after John Grieve, a former senior police officer, who has been a long standing supporter of National Pubwatch.
As with the first conference, committee members found it very challenging to have a content that would be stimulating for this wide cross section of potential representatives. Similar to the first conference, representatives from Pubwatches, licensing trade associations and companies, Local Authority Trading Standards and Community Safety Officers, Drug Action Teams, Police Forces, Association of Town and City Centre Managers, Magistrates Associations, Crown Prosecution Service and relevant Government Departments were invited to attend. A conscious effort was made to attract more local Pubwatch members to attend, not least by offering a very attractive price to them.
Delegates numbering 163, together with 43 guests, speakers, exhibitors, media and staff attended and received a delegate pack. In fact, the conference was well oversubscribed for the facilities available. Unfortunately, none of our supporters within both Houses of Parliament were able to attend, due to the General Election having been called just two days prior to this conference.
Committee members agreed that more speakers should give presentations at this conference, which dedicated some of its time to the Licensing Act 2003, as local authorities had recently commenced the transition process whereby they will take over the licensing responsibility from the Magistrates Courts. Speakers comprised:
Professor Allyson MacVean, Director, John Grieve Centre for Policing
John McNamara, Chief Executive, British Institute of Innkeeping
Adrian Studd, Chief Inspector, Association of Chief Police Officers
Phil Garside, Magistrate and National Pubwatch Committee Member
Patricia Foy, Chief Inspector, Home Office Policing Standard Unit, Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Programme
Paul Wotton, Independent Consultant and National Pubwatch Committee Member
Mark Jones, Chief Executive, Yates Pub Company
Jeremy Allen, Licensing Solicitor, Poppleston and Allen
Raoul de Vaux, Chair, National Pubwatch
Mick Page, Assistant Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police
A Panel discussion was included following the main presentations. Panel members consisted of most of the speakers and a representative from the Security Industry Authority.
Delegates also had the opportunity to attend two of four Workshops, similar to the first conference. They addressed:
Whole Town Scheme, including the Night-Time Economy;
Forming a Pubwatch;
Partnership with Local Authorities.
An outline of these presentations and Workshops can be found within this conference report.
The committee wish to thank all the sponsors for supporting this conference. They include the Government Office for the South East, Home Office, Portman Group, Greene King Pub Company, Laurel Pub Company, Morning Advertiser and the British Institute of Innkeeping.
Thank you also to Sky Pub Channel for filming the event, its highlights subsequently appearing on their programme, the Publican for agreeing to allow Daniel Pearce, their Deputy Editor, to facilitate the Panel discussion and the speakers and Workshop facilitators for giving up their valuable time.
Additionally, the committee wish to thank staff at the John Grieve Centre for their enthusiasm, support and experience in assisting with organising this conference.
Finally, thank you to all the delegates who attended. The evaluations by those of you who completed them will again prove very beneficial for the organisers of any subsequent conference.
Allyson MacVean, Professor
Allyson welcomed delegates and guests and apologised for the non-appearance of Professor John Grieve, who had suddenly fallen ill and was unable to take part. She spoke on his behalf, indicating that the Centre is for Policing and Community Safety, that it was named after John, who, as a former Detective throughout most of his police service, has always been in the forefront of combating crime, drugs and terrorism. He has been a longstanding supporter for National Pubwatch, sent his welcome to delegates and sought to encourage them in their contribution to community safety.
John is the Chief Executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping. He presented ‘Reflections on the Licensing Act 2003’, introducing the aims and vision of this organisation. He then gave an update of the progress of its implementation, outlined some key features and challenges and speculated on the likely effect of this new legislation. He then gave an outline of the popularity of pubs and bars and their inclusion in large environmental developments.
A number of perceived benefits from this licensing reform were introduced, together with the forthcoming changes in licensable activities, the objectives and components. He raised a number of industry concerns and addressed a number of myths, not least that 24 hour opening is enshrined in the new legislation. He promoted partnership working on both a local and national level, highlighting his organisation’s involvement, and accepted that, whilst there will be new opportunities for the licensing trade, the next few months are likely to be difficult, especially during the transition stage.
Adrian is a Chief Inspector in the Metropolitan Police Service Clubs and Vice Unit and staff officer to Commander Chris Allison, who is the lead member of the Association of Chief Police Officers for licensing issues. He presented ‘Reclaiming Our City Centres’, and commenced by showing video extracts of alcohol induced violence in a town centre on a normal Saturday night.
He then introduced some alcohol-related crime statistics, indicated that many licensing outlets aimed to sell the maximum amount of alcohol to the maximum number of people over the current limited amount of time allowed by permitted hours. Often these consumers are aged 18-25 years. This has led to some extended hours, thus staggered closing times, which have exacerbated the problem. The extensive choice of venues and alcoholic drinks and inappropriate promotions are often aimed at the younger age group. Some young people have developed the intention to go into the town centre and get drunk.
He suggested that a holistic approach to this problem is needed, whereby efforts should be made to change the drinking culture, such as from within families and through education. The licensing trade should also show more responsibility and enhance their training. Planning and Licensing Departments should work closer together and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships should increase their prevention and enforcement activities. Within the criminal justice system, alcohol should also be considered an aggravating factor. He expressed concerns about the potential for longer drinking hours, indicating that more alcohol is likely to lead to more crime, more victims and the demand for more police resources, which would require moving these resources from other important tasks and patrols.
Phil is the current Chair of Licensing North Surrey Petty Sessional Division and Deputy Chairman of the Bench. He is also a holder of a restaurant licence and a member of the National Pubwatch Committee. He presented ‘Exclusion Orders’ and encouraged its use locally. He outlined that Exclusion Orders can be applied for at a magistrate’s court where a criminal offence has been committed in licensed premises involving violence or the treat of violence. Such an order may be made in addition to any sentence imposed. It can be imposed for a minimum of three months to a maximum of two years. Any breach is a separate criminal offence. The use of a different coloured proforma would assist the CPS to identify such a request.
He compared Exclusion Orders with the civil power to impose Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which is behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others. This is a useful tool which can give wider control of the individual and offers wider protection to licensees. It can be applied for at a magistrate’s court acting in a civil capacity, at a county court or where a defendant is convicted of an offence in the criminal courts. It can be imposed for a minimum of two years. Any breach is a separate criminal offence. An interim order can even be applied for (by police) without the knowledge of the perpetrator.
He suggested that discussions should be held with the police, the local Crown Prosecution Service and the local court(s), in order to raise their awareness of these powers and opportunities.
Patricia is seconded to the Home Office Policing Standards Unit and has responsibility for co-ordinating police efforts within the national Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign. She presented ‘Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaigns and Tackling Violent Crime Programmes’. She outlined results from the two national Campaigns held in the summer of 2004 and the following Christmas, together with mini-versions and the first tranche of the Tackling Violent Crime Programmes involving twelve Basic Command Units and thirteen Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships.
The Alcohol Campaigns have five key themes – multi-agency visits to licensed premises, Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for disorder, Dispersal Orders, confiscation of alcohol and test purchase operations. Over 7,000 FPNs were issued, over 150 Dispersal Orders were made, over 12,000 alcohol confiscations took place – more than a third from children and almost 1,000 test purchases were made resulting in about one third failure rate.
The operational focus of the mini-versions and the Crime Programmes concentrated on pro-active work through early intervention, multi-agency visits and test purchases to target premises balanced between ‘on’ and ‘off’ premises, identification of the ‘top 10’ licensed premises by incident and the smarter use of CCTV. Further mini-versions and Crime Programmes and their analysis will follow, together with multi-agency workshops, development of ‘proof of age’ initiatives with the industry and wider consultation on ‘drinking responsibly’, with the view to making all this activity mainstream.
Paul is an independent consultant with a wide knowledge of drugs issues. He is also a member of the National Pubwatch Committee. He presented ‘Licensing and Drug Misuse’ and introduced a range of drug-related activity that can take place in licensed premises. He outlined some of the main signs and symptoms to look for, including the type of language used. The main drug offences were explained, including the fact that cannabis is still illegal, and various drugs and associated paraphernalia were shown.
He introduced the three likely scenarios licensees are likely to face – brought in for personal use, brought in to supply to others inside the premises and entering or seeking entry to premises having previously taken a drug. He covered searching customers and the safe handling, storage and disposal of any items seized, including the keeping of a written record of such seizures. A variety of suggested strategies were then introduced, together with some sources for help and support.
Mark is the Chief Executive Officer of Yates Group Limited and presented ‘Trade Support for Pubwatch’. His Pub Company has 150 public houses and stated that the licensing trade must accept more responsibility, having a role to play in changing attitudes and behaviour to alcohol. There is a correlation between crime and alcohol, which requires a balanced approach, in partnership with licensees, industry regulators, public services and authorities.
Whilst accepting that pubs are often pivotal to some local communities, more mixed use of town centres should be encouraged, so that people can go out and enjoy themselves safely. At the moment, young people chase ‘deals’ with the pub industry having a high staff turnover, which creates challenges for staff training and retraining.
As part of their social responsibility, Yates has created their 9-Point “Bar Safe” Commitment, Team Member and Door Team training & monitoring, “It’s OK To Refuse.”, their “Bar Safe Community Fund” and offer full support to National PubWatch. Mark gave the example of Taunton where, when one competitor advertised a special deal, others followed. It became a centre for alcohol-related violence, leading to criticism from a local Coroner, following a related death. Yates introduced their Bar Safe scheme, which included the use of toughened glass, membership of Pubwatch as a condition of entry into their bonus scheme and encouraging local authorities to impose minimum prices. Records were also kept of refused sales to drunken persons or those under age using special buttons on the tills. Currently he is piloting the paying for policing in Nottingham city center, an area covering 20-30 licensed premises. Mark stated that it is important to find innovative and creative solutions, seek “Bar Safe” excellence, train licensees and management, have licensee accountability, give financial support for local initiatives and spread best practice.
Jeremy is a leading licensing solicitor with Poppleston and Allen licensing Solicitors, having considerable knowledge and expertise in this field. He is a member of the Secretary of State Advisory Committee on the Licensing Act 2003, the Legal Director of BEDA and a legal consultant to the BII. He presented ‘Legal Obligations’ and briefly explained the historic relaxed attitude to licensing within the UK. He then outlined the current climate, which includes binge drinking, enforcement campaigns, closure orders (perceived as probably used as a punishment) and the Government’s proposals relating to drinking responsibly. Thus, there is likely to be political “solutions” v. personal responsibility, national inconsistency and more regulation, reviews, enforcement and laws.
He then outlined many of the requirements under the new licensing legislation, including the licenses required, the need for care and detailed research and risk assessments prior to submitting them, the process of conversion from the old scheme to the new, the Operating Schedule and the potential impact of this legislation and process. He also raised the issues of capacity, minimum pricing, the potential for local authorities to become over-prescriptive and the additional costs likely for future variations.
He suggested that new regulations are urgently needed to address the ‘slip rule’, where the renewal of the Premises License should not become payable twelve months after the date of the initial application. At the moment, many licensees are delaying their applications in order to save money. He also believes these new regulations should address both an annual fee and more time for transition.
The Panel comprised each speaker, apart from Allyson McVean and John McNamara. Poppy Walter joined the Panel as a representative from the Security Industry Authority, whose national door supervisors’ registration scheme commence on 11th April 2005, a few days following this conference. The Panel was facilitated by Daniel Pearce, the Deputy Editor of the Publican. A number of questions were posed, leading to a range of responses and discussion.
Raoul de Vaux
Raoul is the chair and founder member of the National Pubwatch. He is also a Companion of the British Institute of Innkeeping and a Justice of the Peace for south-east London. He summed up the ‘Way Forward’, highlighting some of the issues raised during this conference:
• licensees must do some careful research and consider their existing rights before submitting their applications for the new Premises Licenses and they need to ensure that all the relevant documentation is available in the prescribed formats if their application is to be dealt with quickly and in time;
• the need to have a more enlightened and efficient way of dealing with criminal justice issues. For example, when incidents take place, licensees and Pubwatches must press for the issue of an exclusion order if court proceedings ensue;
• test purchases should include supermarkets and off licenses;
• it is desirable that ‘Bar Safe’ schemes should be introduced by other pub companies;
• to avoid action for alleged breaches of human rights, it is essential that police officers and local authority officers do not hold any Pubwatch office or participate in decisions on how a watch is operated;
• licensees, Pubwatches, police local authorities and local communities open and maintain good communication during not only this transitional period but for the foreseeable future as well.
Mick is an Assistant Chief Constable in the Thames Valley Police. His ‘Closing Remarks’ included the need to work together and assist each other. He is a firm supporter of Pubwatch, with representatives of many local schemes present as delegates. Pubwatch leads on many local initiatives designed to alleviate the alcohol fuelled problem and ensure safe and secure drinking establishments. He expressed a desire that this continues.
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Delegates had the opportunity to attend two of four Workshops:
1. Legal Issues – facilitated by Jeremy Allen, one of the speakers.
He outlined a variety of practical tips and explained several legal confusions relating to the Licensing Act 2003, building on his initial presentation. He fielded a number of questions, several relating the national door supervisors’ registration scheme policed by the Security Industry Authority.
2. Whole Town Scheme, including the Night-Time Economy – facilitated by Phil Garside, one of the speakers and Jon Collins, Chief Executive, Bar Entertainment and Dance Association.
Phil introduced the work of Pubwatch within Kingston-Upon-Thames town centre and his experiences as a local licensing magistrate hearing applications and objections to grants and renewals of licenses. Jon spoke of his experiences within the night-time economy trade. This led to a variety of issues and experiences being shared by the delegates.
Two issues were prominent. The first related to some locations having the availability of a bus service to get people away from licensed venues once they have closed. Some are a private venture where buses travel between the Pub/Club and arranged points of drop-off, paid for by the venue or assisted by the council. Others are set up in consultation with Police and pub operators and local authorities. These have a fixed ticket price and some are subsidised by local authorities and/or pub operators. The second related to the incompetence of the SIA in administrating the national door supervisors’ registration scheme. Examples of lost paperwork, incredible time delays in getting badges and their inflexibility to be lenient when it showed it was their fault in the administration were shared.
3. Forming a Pubwatch – facilitated by Nigel Bailey, Inspector, Professional Development Unit, Cheshire Police and Stephen Baker, Partnerships Manager, Aylesbury Police Station, Thames Valley Police.
Nigel introduced the benefits of being an active member of Pubwatch, which includes an improved reputation with more customers and increased trade. This leads to the display of social responsibility, a less stressful life, a safer working environment, an opportunity to reduce Crime and Disorder and an increased likelihood of successful licensing applications. When forming a Pubwatch consider inviting local licensees, Police/Licensing Officer, Licensing Magistrates, Door Supervisors, Town Centre Management, local traders, other interested parties/stakeholders and the local press.
He outlined the content of the initial meeting, which should include the background relating to local Crime and Disorder, the proposal to form a Pubwatch, the introduction of operating systems/rules, the selection of an Interim Committee and the allocation of specific actions. Future considerations should be given to Data Protection Protocols, photographs of known offenders, links to Town Centre Management, CCTV schemes and designing out crime through ‘Secured by Design (Licensing)’ guidelines.
Steve handed out the handbook published by Aylesbury Pubwatch and an article relating to the successful use of a suspect’s photograph that was challenged in the civil court. In response to questions, he also gave a number of practical examples relating to widening their membership, insurance cover, funding, communication, attendance and maintaining a ‘banned’ list.
4. Partnership with Local Authorities – Facilitated by Malcolm Eidmans, Honorary Secretary of National Pubwatch, editor of their newsletter and a consultant in Crisis and Disaster Management and Robin Barnes, Principal Environmental Health Officer for Elmbridge Borough Council.
Malcolm and Robin each outlined a number of benefits for all partners when working together locally to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder. Discussions with delegates led to several suggestions on how to enhance these partnerships. They included inviting local communities to have their say and understand that they have a role, that Pubwatches should keep both the local authority and police separate from their membership otherwise they could be considered a ‘public authority’ for data protection purposes and engage with all liquor outlets, communities, tenants’ associations and neighbourhood forums.
The number of completed evaluation forms returned numbered only 70, just under 43%. Nevertheless, from this feedback, many delegates identified tasks from this conference that they wish to undertake on returning to their own locality. Additionally, a number of suggestions have also been made for specific subjects and issues to be included in any subsequent conference.
The National Pubwatch Committee wish to again thank all who took part in this event.