Conference 2013

National Pubwatch Conference, Broad Street, Birmingham Tuesday 12th March 2013


Our 10th National Conference was held at the Novotel in Broad Street Birmingham. A separate Breakout Session was held at the nearby nightclub – Bar Risa. A total of 197 delegates attended the conference, which focused on Pubwatch issues and recent legislation, namely the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and the Government’s Alcohol Strategy.  In addition to receiving advice on legislation and regulation, participants had the opportunity to share ideas and good practice with other delegates and pursue ideas which they may wish to discuss with their colleagues and partner agencies.  Those present received a comprehensive delegate pack.


Representatives from Pubwatches, Local Authority Trading Standards and Licensing Departments, Community Safety Officers, Police Forces, Association of Town and City Centre Managers, licensing trade associations and companies, training companies, the legal profession, relevant Government Departments and others attended.


Speakers comprised:

  • Steve Baker, Chair, National Pubwatch
  • Chief Constable Adrian Lee, Northants Constabulary and Licensing Lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers,
  • Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive, Shepherd Neame Ltd
  • Dr Alexandra Kenyon, a researcher at Leeds Metropolitan University


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.


A new ‘Malcolm Eidmans Award’, in memory of our former Secretary who sadly died recently, was presented to a member of the police service for his contribution to Pubwatch.


Delegates were able to attend two Breakout Sessions. The first was held at the venue and the second at a nearby Bar Risa nightclub:


  • Legal and Operational Issues of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and the Government’s Alcohol Strategy, facilitated by David Dadds and Peter Coulson, Dadds Solicitors LLP and Andy Parsons, Home Office Drugs and Alcohol Unit
  • Social Responsibility in Practice, facilitated by Charnwood Training Group and members of the Sky Blue Theatre Group. Three scenarios were acted – the use of false ID, a drunken person refused service at a bar and lastly a customer injury requiring first aid.  These scenarios generated considerable discussion and sharing of good practice between delegates.


The 13 display stands present comprised our sponsors, national organisations, trade and local initiatives. Each again 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, Stonegate Pub Company, J D Wetherspoon and Dadds Solicitors.  We would also like to thank the speakers, Breakout Session facilitators and all the other contributors for giving up their valuable time. Additionally, we thank the staff at both the Novotel and Bar Risa for their assistance, support and expertise in ensuring the smooth running of this conference.  Finally, we wish to thank all the delegates who attended.


Conference Programme


Steve Baker
As chair of National Pubwatch, he welcomed all present and thanked our sponsors and supporters.  He spoke about the challenges facing the pub trade in 2013 and outlined the theme and content of this conference.  He explained that a Pubwatch scheme is a relatively cost effective way for licensees to reduce crime and share information and best practice on issues directly related to their pubs and bars.  Today these voluntary schemes operate right across the UK, and they have a proven record of effectiveness that benefits not just their members but also the local communities in which they are based.  Our National Pubwatch ethos has always been to provide free advice and support to further the Pubwatch movement.

Over the past 12 months we have worked with the Scottish Business Crime Centre to promote good practice and the voluntary nature of Pubwatch in Scotland.  Our new free mapping tool was launched and indicates a growing number of schemes across the UK.  Our commitment to further extend our services to those local schemes can also be seen with the introduction of our simple evaluation toolkit provided by MAKE Associates and the new legal Q&A section supported by Dadds Solicitors – both freely available through our website.  We also commissioned of a major piece of research into the value of traditional Pubwatch Schemes which was undertaken on our behalf by Leeds Metropolitan University – see below.

He also announced the launch of the second National Pubwatch Award, again sponsored by Diageo which is open to applications between 2nd April and 27th May.


Adrian Lee
Adrian outlined the current key issues relating to alcohol facing the police service across the UK where pre-loading and ‘binge drinking’ in particular impact considerably.  He showed a local newspaper article where a journalist accompanying a police officer, wrote ‘twitter’ comments of his observations of excessive drinking at various intervals spanning over 24 hours over a New Year’s Eve.   This was accompanied by photographs of drunken persons.  It is clear that some persons actually go out just to get drunk.  He outlined keys issues within the Government’s Alcohol Strategy consultation document, reminded delegates of the four Licensing Objectives and that Health is now a ‘responsible authority’.

He explained that alcohol harm reduction is within his ACPO Licensing portfolio and produced a graph which showed that whilst price has reduced, consumption has risen.  He wonders if the usual policing of drunkenness ought to be changed, citing an example of altering the style of the escorting of away fans to and from a big football match, based on giving individuals more responsibility for their behaviour, and its positive impact.  Policing the night-time economy creates a number of challenges.  Early intervention is important, indicating a cultural change in UK policing.  One response is to set up a mobile custody suite and triage in a city centre.  If a drunken person is able to recover and get home safely, that person faces subsequent alcohol counselling.  He raised the dilemmas arising from Early Morning Restriction Orders and Late Night Levies and encourages his colleagues to work in partnership in order to overcome some of the financial concerns some licensees may have.  He encouraged some innovations and was supportive of the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS).


Jonathan Neame
In addition to being the Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame Ltd, Jonathan is also the Chair of the British Beer and Pub Association.  He explained that there have been periods of abuse of alcohol every 80 years since the mid 1700’s.  He believes the problems we are trying to solve relate to harm concerns on how to reduce the abuse and consumption of alcohol,   and to anti-social behaviour on how to reduce alcohol-related violence and restrict its access and supply.  This coincides with periods of high disposable income and the rising of female ‘laddish’ culture.  The way forward is to improve education and drive awareness, together with targeted interventions and working with local community partners.  He believes beer and Pubs are part of solution to foster a culture of responsible drinking and not part of the problem.  He outlined a number of positives and a few negatives for the trade that appear within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act and the Government’s Alcohol Strategy.  He expressed his full support for Pubwatches, explaining that it is a prime example of very effective voluntary partnership working and was also supportive of other complementary initiatives.  In addressing both the health concerns and anti-social behaviour, he has found that both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crime have reduced.  He concluded by outlining a number of economic benefits for the licensing trade.  These included the high number of visits, meals and beer purchased annually, the fact that the majority of the beer sold in the UK is made in the UK, the large number of persons employed in the licensing trade and that each premises contributes tax to the Government and contributions to both the local economy and to local charities.


Dr Alexandra Kenyon
Alexandra is a senior researcher at Leeds Metropolitan University who undertook the first national evaluation of Pubwatch commissioned by NPW and generously sponsored by J D Wetherspoon.  The evaluation received over 1,700 responses with the overwhelming majority of participants drawn from the licensing trade but also a significant number of police and councils staff with licensing responsibilities.  Open ended responses were collected under different themes.

Four primary aims and objectives of local Pubwatch schemes, matching that of National Pubwatch, were identified by the majority with a very similar breakdown from each of the three groups of respondents.  91% – to help create a safer drinking environment, 89% – to help to reduce alcohol crime and disorder, 78% – to help build stronger relationships between licensees and local agencies and 77% – to help unite and empower local licensees.

Their success in meeting these aims included a reduction in crime and anti-social disorder, effective banning of individuals and partnership working.  76% of councils and 70% of both the licensees and police believed that local schemes were successful in meeting these aims.  The important activities undertaken include banning and receiving information on crime data and criminal activity leading to a decrease in alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and violence.

The majority of stakeholders believed that there had been a decrease in each of the following, 64% – the amount of alcohol-related violence in their premises/the premises of other local scheme members had deceased, 63% – the amount of anti-social behaviour in these same premises and 61% – the level of alcohol-related violence in these same premises.


Relationships between licensees, the police and local authority have increased to a high level.  75% of licensees and 71% of councils believed that relations between them and the local police had increased, 65% of licensees and 62% of police believed relationships with their local councils had been increased, whereas 73% of licensees, 84% of councils and 88% of police believed the relationship with fellow/local member licensees had increased.  Drawbacks include time resources, money/costs and non attendance of other members.


93% of respondents considered it very important that National Pubwatch provide a voice for the licensed trade, 94% that they provide advice and information to support new schemes, 94% that they provide on-going advice and information to support established schemes, 86% that they lobby Government departments on behalf of licensees, 90% that they provide a Good Practice Guide and 84% that they publish a national newsletter to update members.


National Pubwatch has also supported local schemes in many ways, including providing advice/legal advice, guidelines/good practice/constitution template and information.  Pubwatches also appreciate regular hands-on visits from them, plus advice and case studies on a range of practical issues.


Overall, 80% agree that these schemes helps create a safer drinking environment, 61% agree that Pubwatch has contributed to a decrease in alcohol-related violence in premises, 85% agree the scheme helps create better partnerships with official authorities and 89% agree that they will remain a scheme member/continue to support the scheme for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, National Pubwatch should continue to lobby and have a voice on behalf of local Pubwatches, give advice to both new and on-going schemes and provide the Good Practice Guide and Newsletter.  Meanwhile, all stakeholders within the night time economy should invest both time and money into these schemes.

National Pubwatch Outstanding Contribution Award

The Outstanding Contribution Award, which is now in its fourth year, is given to those people who National Pubwatch feel have demonstrated exceptional commitment to their local scheme. The trophies were presented this year to three persons by Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, West Midlands Police.


Susan Clenshaw – Susan is both the secretary of a private members club in March Cambridgeshire and of March Pubwatch. She ensures that March Pubwatch is run responsibly and, in 2010, approached National Pubwatch for advice and guidance as the watch appeared to be faltering and was on the verge of collapse. She has put many hours of her own time into the Watch, recognising the effectiveness and importance that Pubwatch plays in ensuring the night time economy does not impact negatively upon crime and disorder issues. She has reviewed and amended local rules and policies that are based upon best practice, and has dealt with difficult internal membership issues in a calm and professional manner.  She maintains contact with neighbouring schemes and through that liaison recognised that one Watch was operating outside National Pubwatch guidelines and highlighted the issue to National Pubwatch, which prevented a potential serious legal challenge.


Mark Tanner – Mark is the licensee of the Figure of Eight public house on Broad Street, Birmingham and is dedicated to promoting that area as a destination tourist location. He has chaired the Broad Street Pubwatch for the past 5 years.  This scheme brings together the multitude of pubs and clubs that are located in one of the City’s most prestigious streets, home to one of the UK’s largest entertainment areas.  He is ‘community’ focused, serving as a director for the local Broad Street Business Improvement District. He also gives his time voluntarily to work with the Night Time Economy Steering Group, where partners from the BID, City Council, door supervisors and police work to enhance the night time economy and create a safer environment for visitors and revellers. The work of the group is varied and involves strategies for student nights, taxi issues, pedestrian areas and reduction of crime. He actively supports the local police in conducting theft reduction operations and projects to reduce violent crime and anti social behaviour related to motor vehicles.


Helen Chorley – Helen is the licensee of the White Hart in Kendal, Cumbria – a busy town centre pub. She is one of the original founder members and Chair of the Kendal Barwatch which has been in place for over 11 years. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that local licenses understand the benefits of joining the partnership and that it operates efficiently.  As the scheme evolved Helen took on the role of voluntary Night Time Co-ordinator. She monitors the radio link, ‘checking the pubs in’ every evening. Messages are passed via her and she ensures that all radio link users receive them. She also contacts the police if they have any trouble and provides liaison throughout the night until four in the morning – even though her pub closes at midnight.  Although Helen has been troubled by ill health over the last few years she has always managed to attend the monthly meetings and to support the scheme. She welcomes new managers and helps them to get to know local troublemakers.


Malcolm Eidmans Award


The new Malcolm Eidmans Award, in memory of our Secretary and former police officer who sadly died recently, is given to a member of police staff who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting local Pubwatch schemes.


David Colthup – David is a former Police officer who first became involved with Pubwatch whilst working for Cheshire Constabulary as a Community Safety Officer in the Congleton and Vale Royal areas.  He became aware of concerns raised by the Race Equality Council in relation to the banning of a member of the travelling community and helped to produce a comprehensive pack for the local Pubwatch scheme, which detailed sample minutes, a banning guidance template and standardised warning, banning and appeals letters and procedures which is now used extensively across Cheshire and beyond.  He regularly gives Pubwatches presentations on drugs issues and delivers BIIAB National Certificate Training in substance abuse at Cheshire College. He also developed Acceptable Behaviour and Drug Safe retention policies for clubs in Vale Royal. David is currently the Police Licensing Intelligence Officer in West Cheshire and regularly updates schemes with current crime trends and suspect individuals.  His prompt circulations have helped Pubwatch members avoid falling victim to commonly used scams and the recent surge in the theft of mobile phones.

Panel Discussion


The Panel was facilitated by a National Pubwatch Committee member.  Some speakers and Workshop presenters were still present and fielded questions from the floor.  They included discussions on various forms of training for staff.



The number of completed evaluation forms collected was 86, although some did not complete all the sections.

We recognise that Pubwatches work in partnership with a variety of organisations.  We endeavour to include content that will be of interest to both the practitioners as well for corporate representatives.

It is therefore very helpful for us to receive feedback from delegates, both written and verbal, in order to ensure each conference was very useful to them.