National Pubwatch Conference, Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, Tuesday 8th February 2011
The eighth National conference was held in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool and was titled ‘Carrot or Stick? – Striking the Balance’. NPW conferences continue to be an ideal forum for discussing existing and forthcoming licensing legislation and regulations, and offering participants the opportunity to share ideas and good practice.
Delegates included representatives from Pubwatches, licensing trade associations and companies, Local Authority Trading Standards and Licensing Departments, Community Safety Officers, Police Forces, Association of Town and City Centre Managers, training companies, the legal profession and relevant Government Departments.
A total of 206 persons attended, with 6 ‘no shows’. Delegates numbered 140, together with 19 exhibitors. We also had 47 guests which included speakers and Committee members. A breakdown of delegates revealed that there were 44 Pubwatch members, 50 police, 16, local authority and 30 ‘other’ from various professions. Those present received a comprehensive delegate pack.
Unfortunately one of our original speakers, James Brokenshire MP, was unable to attend due to a parliamentary commitment. We are pleased that he was able to nominate a colleague to replace him.
- Steve Baker, Chair, National Pubwatch
- Zoe Wilkinson Head of the Alcohol Strategy Unit, Home Office – on behalf of James Brokenshire MP, Under Secretary of State, Home Office
- Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, lead officer for alcohol issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers
- Dr Martin Rawlings MBE, Director of Pubs and Leisure, British Beer and Pub Association
The ‘National Pubwatch Outstanding Contribution Award’, in recognition of work carried out in support of a local Pubwatch was awarded to three individuals – see below.
Delegates were able to attend two themed Workshops, each having three presentations:
Session facilitated by John Harrington of the Morning Advertiser
a) Civil Recovery related to losses experienced by Pubwatch members – facilitated by Trevor Pepper Committee member National Pubwatch and Vanessa Willet from Retail Loss Prevention.
b) The updated National Pubwatch Good Practice Guide – facilitated by barrister Steve Walsh QC
c) The use of False Identification – facilitated by the Home Office Alcohol Strategy Unit – Chief Inspector Deirdre Dent and Inspector Mark Halton (Home Office guidance now available on-line.
2. Social Norms
Session facilitated by Matt Eely of The Publican
a) The Night Time Economy – Jon Collins CEO of NOCTIS
b) Planning and Managing a City Centre – Alistair Turnham MAKE Associates, Liverpool City Centre Manager Mike Cockburn and Police Inspector Mark Morgan.
c) Research into Social Norms and Student Alcohol Consumption – Bridgette Bewick of University of Leeds
We hope to make the majority of these presentations available through the NPW website.
The exhibitors provided a broad range of private and public subject matter related to Pubwatch and pub hospitality issues and each generated considerable interest from delegates.
The committee wish to thank all the sponsors for supporting this conference. They include the British Beer and Pub Association, Bookers and One Stop Promotions. Thank you, once again, to the Publican for agreeing to allow Matthew Eley, their News Editor, to facilitate one of the Workshops and the Panel discussion. We would also like to thank the speakers, Workshop facilitators and all the other contributors for giving up their valuable time. Additionally, we thank the staff at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel for their assistance, support and expertise in ensuring the smooth running of this conference.
Finally, thank you to all the delegates for attending. The written evaluations completed, together with several verbal comments made, confirmed that this Conference was well received.
As chair of National Pubwatch, he welcomed all present and thanked our sponsors and supporters. He outlined the theme and content of this conference and took the opportunity to outline our efforts to positively influence the Home Office regarding Pubwatch membership and the proposed late night levy. He also raised his concern surrounding current discussions taking place involving the Association of Chief Police Officers regarding a single national accreditation scheme. He also shared the identities of the four new Regional Representatives – Dave Day, Lancashire; David Barrett, South, Mid and West Wales; Jon Shipp, Dorset and Hampshire; Paul Neades, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Additionally, he reminded delegates of the NPW ‘Court Not Caution’ initiative and it’s DVD which featured in last year’s conference.
Jon is the Chief Constable of Durham Police and lead officer for alcohol licensing and harm reduction issues within the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO is a national group covering the whole of England and Wales. He stated that here is a considerable link between alcohol and crime and disorder and the importance of working with the pub trade because of the National Intelligence Model, which has four themes:
- Prevention – such as involvement with Pubwatches
- Intelligence – such as Purple Flag, Best Bar None and Pubwatch
Thus, there is considerable support for voluntary schemes within a national network, where ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Referring to the theme of this Conference ‘Carrot or Stick?’ he stated that police have to use the stick occasionally however, they are increasingly seeing partnerships working positively. He recognised that there is a negative image of the night-time economy but mentioned the continuing instances of individuals pre-loading as a big issue. He was encouraged by the Government bill currently passing through Parliament even if some people have reservations about some of its content. It has raised controversy as different areas of the UK face different problems, which needs to be recognised. He has been encouraged with the understanding that James Brokenshire MP has on the wide issues involved.
He recognised that there are big issues with the off-trade and low prices, which has led to inequality. However, in Durham there have been some fantastic results, many involving Pubwatches. In Durham City, there has been a 25-30% reduction in crime and disorder and 28% increase in footfall. With 23,000 alcohol-related crimes taking place in the UK weekly, police have a vested interest in helping Pubwatches help us to reduce this. He has found that the Home Office is very responsive to new ideas. An example of this is where the Sentencing Council has listened to the views of NPW and decided that assaults on licensing staff will be considered as an aggravating factor when prosecution is being considered. He understood that the late night-time levy is controversial but acknowledged that Pubwatches have been instrumental, and actually vital, in assisting police in reclaiming the night-time economy. He concluded that police enforcement was intended to be responsible, responsive yet sensitive to local issues.
As head of the Home Office Alcohol Strategy Unit, Zoe stated that James Brokenshire MP apologised for being unable to attend as he was chairing a Committee in the Houses of Parliament. However, he wished to express that he was very supportive of the work of Pubwatches.
The Government has set out a period of reform. Zoe outlined a visit she made with this Minister to Portsmouth where she was struck by the level of violence accepted there. There is an assumption that behaviour can be changed by rules and legislation, however the Government wants people to make their own choices. Whilst the majority of premises are run well, some do flout the law. There is a need to respond to the concerns of local residents and encourage greater community involvement. This involves health issues as well, indicated by the level of alcohol-related issues dealt with by A&E Departments. Pubwatches are vital and their reputations need to be protected despite the misbehaviour of the minority. For underage sales the fine has been increased from £10K to £20K, together with closures taking place. The Government support Challenge 21 and 25 with business being the driver to encourage growth. However, we must do more to protect their reputation. It has responded to representations from the trade on some issues and acknowledged Jon Stoddart’s referral to the assaults on staff becoming an aggravated factor, admitting that she had even witnessed such an incident in a supermarket where a customer reacted badly when challenged under Challenge 21. The licensed trade are now invited to retail business meetings. New guidance regarding the misuse of IDs is also about to be published. The use of false ID is much less of a problem than the misuse of them. Robust methods of seizing them have been identified and Workshop 1 has an input on this. She explained that prototype glass was on display at last year’s National Pubwatch Conference. This has created a ripple effect and the Home Office is striving to create an environment for it. She suggested delegates visit the Home Office Design Out Crime stand to view some prototypes.
Dr Martin Rawlings
As the Director of Pubs and Leisure with the British Beer and Pub Association, Martin explained that British pubs are iconic and envied across the world, being a part of UK culture. There are many positives for pubs during 2011 and 2012 including the royal wedding, the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine, the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee. He made mention to the theme of this Conference ‘Carrot or Stick’, explaining that the ‘carrots’ include the work of National Pubwatch and local Pubwatches, Best Bar None, Purple Flag, Business Improvement Districts with their national advisory service and Community and Alcohol Partnerships. Things are improving with the level of prosecutions and incident declining. He accepted that some of the legislation works.
However, with 70% of alcohol sold in off licences and only 20% in pubs, he challenged the Government on some of the ‘sticks’. There should be a differential in tax regarding the late night levy, particularly as binge drinking is declining. There have been recent unnecessary regulations – four times in five years – with Alcohol Disorder Zones and the Mandatory Code in particular, leading to uncertainty. We now also have the new Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.
He concluded with a request for government to revisit on the following:
- A reduction in the evidence required for licensing conditions to ‘appropriate’ rather than ‘necessary’ will introduce subjectivity to the process and burden the majority of businesses with conditions that might only be appropriate to a minority e.g. polycarbonate glasses.
- Early Morning Restriction Orders which will penalise those businesses which in good faith took advantage of the flexibility of the Licensing Act.
- Under Age Drinking, where there should be a presumption for training orders rather than immediate prosecution.
- The Late Night Levy should not be a blanket requirement for all premises and where imposed should include discounts for Pubwatch, Best Bar None and BID’s
Deputy Chief Constable Bernard Lawson, Merseyside Police, agreed to present this new award to the following:
Neil Bartholomey – Chair of Northampton Pubwatch – has taken the Watch to a different level using his knowledge and skills, drive and determination by championing many local initiatives, such as the use of Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, to reduce crime and change offending behaviour. He has represented the Pubwatch on a number of local partnership bodies and has been instrumental in promoting wider social responsibility schemes. He is the deputy chair of the BID board and sits on the Town Centre Partnership Board and the Community Safety Partnership Violent Crime Reduction Task Group. He has also recognised the potential for Pubwatch and Best Bar None to improve standards within licensed premises.
Geoff Keeble – Chair of Tilehurst Pubwatch and committee member of Reading Town Centre Pubwatch – has provided the technical and administrative support for their annual NO ID – NO SALES and Project Argus conferences and helped to co-ordinate the KNIVES COST LIVES campaign to raise money for training materials to educate youngsters to the dangers of carrying weapons. He is also the main coordinator for the impressive annual presentation awards night for the Reading Best Bar None scheme and in 2009 was awarded a commendation from the Reading Safer Partnership Group in recognition of the contribution he has made to make Reading a safer place.
Julia Clancy – Chair of East Liverpool Pubwatch – has been responsible for rejuvenating her scheme, encouraging new members and gaining the support of the police and Trading Standards. She saw the importance in getting the local businesses to work together to promote the area and reduce crime. Now, many of the local shops which sell alcohol, including large supermarkets, have joined the scheme. She has readily worked with other key partners, such as the local business and residents associations, to influence and improve her area and she also supports the local community by organising or helping others to run events and festivals.
We wish to thank Inbev for sponsoring the event. The three winners this year each received a trophy.
The Panel was facilitated by Matthew Eley, the News Editor of the Publican and John Harrington, News Editor of The Morning Advertiser and a National Pubwatch Committee member. Whilst some speakers and Workshop presenters were still present, the discussions centred on issues raised by Stephen Walsh, barrister, and Inspector Mark Morgan, Merseyside Police, during their Workshop presentations. A lively question and answer session followed.
The number of completed evaluation forms collected was 76, although some did not complete all the sections.
All feedback from delegates, both written and verbal, are always very helpful to us and greatly assist us in deciding the content of the programme for future Conferences. A number of delegates also identified issues they wish to share and tasks they wish to research and perhaps undertake locally.