Our 12th National Conference was held at The Cheltenham Park Hotel, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. A total of 150 delegates attended this conference, the theme of which was ‘Pubwatch: Adding Value to Safer Communities’. Delegates were given the opportunity to become updated on a range of relevant topics, share ideas and good practice with other delegates and take home tasks 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, pub companies, training companies, the legal profession, a relevant Government Department, some charities and others attended.
- Steve Baker, Chair, National Pubwatch
- Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, Chief Constable, Gloucestershire Police
- Chief Constable Adrian Lee, Northants Constabulary and Licensing Lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers,
- Andy Slee, External Affairs and Central Operations Director, Punch Taverns
- Inspector Ed Brown, Norwich Police and Andy Gotts, Flukes Nightclub
- Louis Krog, Colin Pilsworth and James Elias, Cheltenham Nightsafe
Two separate awards were presented to individuals. They were:
- the National Pubwatch ‘Award of Merit’, in recognition of work carried out in support of a local Pubwatch
- the ‘Malcolm Eidmans Award’, in memory of our former Secretary
Delegates were also able to attend two Breakout Sessions:
- Pubwatch Administration, facilitated by Alex Kenyon, Leeds University and Stephen Walsh QC. Alex introduced a Pubwatch Evaluation Toolkit to assist Pubwatches in proving that what they are doing is reducing crime and disorder, whereas Stephen introduced two documents, the revised National Pubwatch Good Practice Guide and the amended Code of Practice. The first is a general guide and the second a schedule, but not a ‘one fits all’ document
- Pubwatches and Responsibility, facilitated by Katie Hardcastle, John Moore’s University and Elaine Hindal, DrinkAware. Katie produced research into the sale of alcohol to drunks and mentioned that prosecutions are rare. There is a low level of staff training on this issue and its need was highlighted when actors were used to display different levels of intoxication in various licensed premises in three cities. Elaine explained that some people get together with others and drink to get drunk with fighting and sexual behaviour/harassment often prevalent. One initiative involved taking the street pastor idea and placing trained ‘hosts’ in some clubs and support those persons who they identify as vulnerable.
The 15 display stands present comprised our sponsors, national organisations, trade and local initiatives. One of these included five voluntary groups. All displays created considerable interest amongst delegates.
The committee again wish to thank all the sponsors for supporting this conference. They include the British Beer and Pub Association, Stonegate Pub Company, J D Wetherspoon, Diageo, Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns, the British Institute of Innkeeping, Licensees Unite and Dadds Solicitors. We would also like to thank the speakers, Breakout Session facilitators and all the other contributors for sharing their knowledge and expertise. Additionally, we thank the staff at The Palace Hotel for their assistance, support and expertise in ensuring the smooth running of this conference. Finally, we wish to thank all the delegates who attended.
As chair of National Pubwatch, Steve welcomed all present and thanked our sponsors and supporters.He explained that working with the Social Responsibility Alliance, brought together good practice from a range of organisations. He mentioned our grateful thanks to our three founder members who set up National Pubwatch in 1997: Raoul de Vaux, who sadly died recently, Malcolm Eidmans, who passed away two years ago, and Bill Stone, who was in the audience. He briefly outlined the Diageo National Pubwatch Award that took place in the House of Commons last October and encouraged Pubwatches to apply for this year’s Award, which will be open to applications between 6th April and 17th July. He explained the importance of why Pubwatches aim to reduce crime and disorder within and within the near vicinity of licensed premises, where occasionally, serious assaults do take place. He outlined the Droylsden scheme who won last year, where the Pubwatch was set up following gang warfare and murder. He was aware of a recent death by machete in a pub car park in Gloucester and was involved as a police officer in investigating a shooting in a pub in Aylesbury many years ago.
As the local Chief Constable, she opened this Conference, stating that is the public duty to protect life and property. She is a strong supporter of Pubwatch and posed the question: ‘What can we do to prevent incidents such as the machete murder?’ For such an escalation in violence can lead to unintended consequences, particularly when involving alcohol. She encouraged all present to please carry on working together.
Adrian outlined that the Association of Chief Police Officers are hugely concerned about the effect alcohol can have and encouraged people to use it responsibly. The night-time economy particularly falls within this, however whilst some positive changes are taking place it is not fast enough. Examples include in Grimsby where a ‘dry January’ has a wide range of non alcoholic drinks available. In Manchester raising awareness of sexual crimes, where ‘no’ means ‘no’ is conducted, whereas in Northampton there is an initiative surrounding the spiking of drinks. Some innovative practice includes persons being trained to recognise vulnerable persons, particularly females, taking a breath test on entry to licensed premises, body-worn videos, welfare centres, and the banning of nitrous oxide in licensed premises.
Where there is some issue about police not sharing information with partner agencies, sharing data to keep people safe is covered legislation. ACPO is a strong supporter of Pubwatches, who should not stand still in their activities. We as a society are running out of ‘sensible’ drunks, where many people go beyond normal behaviour. Many are now fighting drunks, perhaps due to legal highs and illegal drugs as well. Some do not like drunks but peer pressure draws them into that type of group. Photographs of such behaviour are even shared on the social media. Another issue is the accuracy of what is termed as alcohol-related incidents, which need to be researched much further.
Punch Taverns has 3,700 leased and tenanted premises, 60% being within Pubwatches. Some delegates may remember that they introduced the designated driver campaign during the Christmas festivities several years ago. He explained that there are about 50,000 pubs within the UK and some incidents will take place. However, there is ‘perception’ versus ‘reality’ often created by media coverage of incidents. Beer volume on premises has gradually reduced and pubs need to be well run to attract customers. New licensees have pre-entry training supported by a new Business Team. This includes introducing them to their local Pubwatch. Further on-line training is undertaken and they have occasional visits from ‘mystery shoppers’. Last year we had only 14 under-age queries across all our premises. He concluded by raising three challenges: partnership is key; do not criminalize honest licensees; view the pub as the home of responsible drinking.
Ed Brown and Andy Gotts
In Norfolk alcometers are used as a tool to stop people turning up drunk at licensed premises. This is not an enforcement tactic but an aid to assist venues. Following a short pilot in 2013, 28 venues were issued with this equipment with the kits set at double the drink/drive limit. It was widely marketed and advertised. Additionally, research of drunken persons arrested indicated that over 60% had pre-loaded. The initial scepticism was overcome by using this equipment in a discretional manner. Tangible results included that when persons were shown the alcometer reading, most accepted it, rather than becoming aggressive.
Louis Krog, Colin Pilsworth and James Elias
The Late Night Levy was introduced in Cheltenham in April last year to cater for the busy night time economy, but not as a punitive measure. Pubwatch has both the Daysafe and the Nightsafe, the latter including hotels and food outlets. The LNL runs between 1am-6am and Pubwatch and Best Bar None have a 30% reduction to their fees. The full amount raised is to be used as a single programme, rather than splitting it between police and the local authority. Several premises decided to vary their hours to avoid this fee.
This ‘Award of Merit, formerly named the Outstanding Contribution Award, is now in its sixth year. It is given to those people who National Pubwatch feel have demonstrated exceptional commitment to their local scheme. Two trophies were presented this year to by Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, Gloucestershire Police.
Nigel Williams – Chair of Sheffield License Watch, a city-wide scheme that has 1,800 premises.
Michael Knight – Chair of Nottingham City Club, Pub and Hotel Watch that regularly attracts 100 persons to its meetings.
For more information see Pubwatch Award of Merit
The Malcolm Eidmans Award, now in its third year, is in memory of our former Secretary who died in 2012, and is given to a member of police staff who has demonstrated considerable commitment to supporting local Pubwatch schemes. The trophy was presented this year to one person by Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, Gloucestershire Police.
Trevor Hooper – Thames Valley Police Licensing Officer who until recently worked on licensing issues in Aylesbury.
The number of completed evaluation forms collected was 81, a pleasing return. All feedback is greatly appreciated as it assists us to measure the value of the content and organisation of each Conference and help us to include relevant topics within the next one.