Stonegate boss issues support for Pubwatch

Stonegate Pub Company spends £27.5m a year on keeping its customer safe, chairman Ian Payne told delegates at the 16th National Pubwatch Conference held in Chester this week.

Payne revealed that the company, which as 772 sites including 125 in its late-night division, is the largest consumer of doorstaff in the sector.

He also said that Stonegate pubs use 38,000 hours of security a week across 600 sites and on average employ 3,000 male and female Security Industry Authority registered door staff every week.

Of its pubs 75% are in pubwatch schemes, 6% of its general managers chair their local pubwatch and 28% sit on committees.

In a survey of its managers 77% said that local pubwatch schemes improve their relationships with neighbours, 89% said it improved relationships with police and local authorities and 55% said pubwatch helped reduce crime.

“It is incredibly important to us that are pubs are run safely and well. Nobody wants to go out to badly run pubs and that is why we are such active supporters of pubwatch,” he told delegates.

“I fundamentally believe in what pubwatch is doing.”

He also spoke about the crisis on the high street that has seen widespread coverage of retail closures.

“If you think about any high street, licensed premises are actually key to driving people into those high streets. This is why we think late night levies and the Scottish Government talking about introducing a tourist tax are completely misguided”.

“What local authorities should be doing is encouraging operators of bars and restaurants to invest and develop in the high street so that more people will go back there.”

The National Pubwatch Conference was held in association with the Security Industry Authority for the second year running.