Penrith Pubwatch – New scheme to tackle drug use

10 March 2018. A first of its kind scheme for Cumbria has been rolled out this week in the hope of tackling social drug use.

Penrith Pubwatch scheme was founded around 16 years ago and has grown to cover 27 pubs and clubs in Penrith, Eamont Bridge and Pooley Bridge. Its aim is to create a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises.

From this week, anyone found using or being in possession of drugs in a Pubwatch premises will be offered a three-hour course about the dangers of drugs, which costs £30. If the scheme is successful, it will be introduced across the county.

Before this week, anyone found in possession of or using drugs in a Pubwatch licensed premises would be banned from all such pubs and clubs in both Penrith and Carlisle for a year under the scheme’s zero tolerance policy on drugs. If someone is caught again with drugs in the pubs after taking the course, they will banned.

The number of people banned through Pubwatch across Penrith is 49, of which 32 are on the list due to being found in possession of drugs or using drugs.

The Pubwatch committee, which meets monthly, wanted to look at ways of tackling the issue of social drug use before it became a bigger problem. They worked alongside Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS), which provides the course.

Donna Wilson, Pubwatch co-ordinator, said members wanted to make sure the course was not “preachy”, but provided a chance for people to understand drugs and the effect they can have on the body.

Rachel Ruddick, manager at The Lounge, Penrith, and assistant chairwoman of the Pubwatch committee, said staff members are trained to watch out for drug use. Police also supply businesses with drug testing kits to check for traces of drugs residue.

This week, four people have taken the course and PC Erich Thoele said their response had been positive.

Story courtesy of the Cumberland & Westmoreland Herald

Editors comment: Information on how to deal with the issue of drugs in licensed Premises can be found on the NPW film Drugs and Pubs (visit our YouTube link) or the drugs section of our Good Practice Pub.