A Pubwatch ban should apply to everyone – even if they play in a Pool or Darts league

NPW has recently been contacted by a pub customer who was unfortunate to have suffered an assault for which his assailant received a Pubwatch ban. Imagine his surprise when he saw this person drinking in the same pub where the attack had taken place. He spoke to the licensee who confirmed that the man was banned but that he was allowed into the premises ‘on pool and dart nights’. His discomfort increased when he went to use the pub toilets and found that the only other person using the facilities was the person who had subjected him to the assault.

The complainant questioned why a licensee would allow someone who has been banned for a serious incident to socialise with his mates just because he happens to be a member of a pool or darts league. We have to agree that this appears a crazy situation, which reduces the ban to a token gesture.

It may be that the licensee is being flexible with the local Pubwatch rules to suit his own purposes and if this is the reason then no doubt the complainant will find a more socially responsible venue in which to spend his money.

However if this is a Pubwatch policy then the question has to be asked what would happen if the victim was not a customer but a member of staff or the licensee himself?

It might be that the licensee (or Pubwatch) is in fact worried that if he excludes this person; that his fellow players will boycott the pub. That is of course always a risk; but should you allow customers to dictate how you operate your business? Surely what matters most is that you have a safe and profitable business. Violent crime will do nothing to increase profits and could have a seriously negative impact on how the police and licensing authorities view your pub.

We think it’s very unlikely that the majority of customers will support this type of individual, particularly if the Pubwatch scheme has a strong united ethos. After all it could seriously restrict their social activities if they insisted in drinking with him.

This is a problem that we have come across before and it may well be that the Committee of this particular pool and darts league have not considered the issue of Pubwatch or the wishes of the licensee members. If a situation like this exists in your town then we would suggest that you have a frank and open discussion with the pool and darts league Committee(s) and ask them to support decisions taken by the Pubwatch scheme. There is after all nothing to stop a team which wishes to field a banned member from playing their particular games in a pub which is not a member of the Pubwatch scheme?

A pub ban is not a punishment and it will have been applied in an effort to protect the licensees businesses and the safety of their staff and customers. We believe that the majority of pool and dart league members will respect that decision because they will want to socialise in a safe environment.