Durham wins Diageo National PubWatch Award

Left to right. Andrew Stephenson MP, Richard Barlow Diageo GB, Steve McGeady Glasgow City Pubwatch, Helen Towns Durham Pubwatch, Martyn Milburn Consett Pubwatch, Andy Hughes Durham Pubwatch, Steve Baker Chair NPW

Durham PubWatch is presented with the national award for role in the reduction of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in Durham City, and its positive impact on the local community.

Durham was crowned as the winner of the Diageo National Pubwatch Award at a packed ceremony in the House of Commons last night, with MPs, Lords and notable names from the pub industry and other stakeholders in attendance.

The annual award, now in its fourth year, showcases the work that local PubWatch schemes do throughout the UK to help create safer drinking environments. Entrants are judged by a panel of National PubWatch Committee members and industry experts, who identify the scheme which made the greatest contribution to its community. The Durham PubWatch’s submission was aided by glowing endorsements from local police about the work done to promote the Best Bar None award scheme, which was created to promote the responsible management and operation 0f licensed premises.

The Durham Watch ‘stepped well beyond the expectations of a normal scheme’, according to the judges, who were struck by its ability to work successfully in close partnership with Durham City authorities. That work includes initiatives to help train licensees, bar staff, and door staff on best practice, and clampdown on violent and disorderly incidents at licensed establishments, which has contributed to a 15% drop in alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the city over the past year.[ii]


The judges were particularly impressed by the Watch’s involvement in the City Safety Group scheme to improve public safety around rivers, particularly for those under the influence of alcohol. Various new initiatives have been introduced in pubs and clubs in the city, and volunteer wardens now patrol the city’s river banks to help those at risk. The measures are a response to a number of tragic deaths in the city centre since 2013, with three university students drowning since 2013.


Mark Baird, Head of Alcohol in Society at Diageo Great Britain, commented: “Durham is a shining example of the valuable work done by PubWatch’ schemes to create safer drinking environments across the country, and I speak for everyone at Diageo GB when I say I am immensely proud of our continued sponsorship of this award. The on-trade sector plays a vital role in bringing local communities together. Everyone should be able to feel safe and enjoy themselves when they go out for a drink or a meal with friends or family which is why we continue to support schemes designed to create the friendliest and safest possible drinking environments in all licensed premises.”


Andy Hughes, chairman of Durham PubWatch, said: “Pubwatch is a scheme that allows licenced premises, along with the local council and police, to make a real improvement to the safety and enjoyment of staff and customers of a town or city’s pubs and clubs, thus improving footfall and business for everyone, whilst lessening the demand for already stretched emergency services. It’s a real team effort from all of the licensees and it’s great for us to be recognised for the work we put into improving all aspects of the night time economy."


Speaking at the awards Steve Baker, Chairman of National PubWatch, said: “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners Durham PubWatch scheme, and our highly commended schemes, Glasgow City and Consett & District for the work they do. These schemes provide ample evidence PubWatch plays a vitally important role in keeping the pubs and bars and the wider public areas of our towns and cities a safer place to work and socialise. I would also like to warmly thank Diageo for supporting our work and providing such a wonderful opportunity for local PubWatch schemes to demonstrate their good practice and to receive acknowledgment from the wider industry”.


Two other Pubwatch schemes, in Glasgow and Consett, were also shortlisted for the award. They were both acknowledged by judges for demonstrating an outstanding contribution to promoting social responsibility in their local areas.


About the PubWatch Award:

The Diageo National PubWatch Awards have been established to encourage and recognise the work of local Pubwatch schemes throughout the United Kingdom and their efforts to provide safe drinking environments for customers and staff. 2015 is the fourth year of the PubWatch Awards.

[i] Best Bar None is a National Award Scheme supported by the Home Office and aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises. It has since been adopted by 75 town and cities across the UK and is now being taken up internationally.