Fears that pub troublemakers could head for Hungerford

06 Apr 2019 – Story and photograph courtesy of Newbury Today www.newburytoday.co.uk

Pubwatch scheme aims to deter troublemakers from Newbury

The efficiency of a Pubwatch scheme in Newbury could make Hungerford an attractive alternative for troublemakers, police fear.

However, Hungerford will soon have a Pubwatch scheme of its own.

The warning came from Acting Sgt Matt Tullet of the neighbourhood police team at a meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Monday night.

He told councillors: “The scheme in Newbury uses modern technology and it’s very professionally run.”

“It has proved very successful recently at reducing disorder and crime”.

“But the fear is that, if they’ve been excluded from Newbury, they will come to Hungerford; that it will push the problem over here.”

“If a few prolific offenders decide Hungerford is the place to come instead, we want to be able to nip that in the bud.”

A Pubwatch scheme is a partnership where licensees unify in a local area as an independent group to pre-empt crime and antisocial behaviour in licensed premises.

Anyone barred from one pub will be barred from all others that are part of the Pubwatch scheme, for an indefinite period depending on the severity of the offence.

The meeting heard that the scheme will cost Hungerford licensees around £50 per year and Sgt Tullet said: “We’ve spoken to publicans already and they’re quite happy to pay.

“The police will provide information and intelligence on who the offenders are and will keep such information.

“It’s pretty much ready to go.”

All that was needed now, added Sgt Tullet, was someone to fulfil an administrative role, typing up agendas and so on.

He said: “We were hoping the council will be the lynch pin and provide this role.”

“It will involve around six to eight hours’ work a year.”

Town mayor Helen Simpson said: “We completely understand the need for a central person to coordinate it so the scheme doesn’t fall apart.”

“There needs to be a proper body in place to manage it. I feel it’s definitely something we should help with.”

She invited Sgt Tullet to provide a written statement outlining how the scheme would work to help the council decide how best to allocate the administration.

NPW Editor comment: We do not believe that a public body providing minimal administrative support to a Pubwatch Scheme will cause legal issues in the event of a challenge. However, it is important that the scheme and its processes are managed by the licensed trade members for the benefit of its members, even if its work has a beneficial effect on crime and anti-social behaviour in the wider area. If Pubwatch schemes have any doubts about the relationship between Pubwatch and public bodies we would urge you to read the NPW Good Practice Guide.