Pubwatch Licensees help in crime crackdown in Tavistock

A NEW ‘ring around’ Pubwatch scheme has been launched in Tavistock in an attempt to tackle anti-social behaviour.


Tavistock Police, the Devon and Cornwall Licensing Team and Tavistock Street Pastors have been working with a number of licensees in the town to try and set standards of acceptable behaviour and act robustly against individuals that cause problems in and around pubs.


It is aimed particularly at those who are violent, damage property, use or deal drugs or act in an anti-social manner.


This comes as recent crime figures for Tavistock town centre revealed that the number of recorded violent offences resulting in injury had increased by 6.9% to 62 offences last year.


Violent offences without injury had also increased by 23.6% to 68 in 2015.


At a recent Tavistock Town Council meeting West Devon sector inspector Mark Sloman said: ‘We have recently started a licensed premises association which will mean regular meetings.


‘If landlords are having a problem with an individual they will be able to ring around to other premises to warn them. They also have a private social media group to share information about troublesome individuals.


‘There are drugs here and as we live in a town there probably always will be but I do hope that we have a clear picture of the drug scene in Tavistock.’


PC Cathy Veale said: ‘Tavistock Ring Around Pubwatch Scheme is up and running with 11 members to date and potentially more to join with support from Tavistock Police, Devon and Cornwall Licensing Team and Tavistock Street Pastors.


‘The members are working together using a ring around scheme, passing on information to each other of any persons asked to leave their premises or who may potentially cause further issues elsewhere in the town.


‘The street pastors have provided a contact number for Friday and Saturday evenings as part of the scheme and the local police team has provided a night time economy contact.


‘The members will be sharing information about any relevant incidents, including details of those banned from their establishment indefinitely or for a specific period, so consideration can then be given to banning them from other members’ premises also.


‘The commitment to work together becomes the strength of the pub watch scheme as it sends a powerful message to problem individuals and the wider public. The members meet approximately every three months with the support of the local neighbourhood beat manager, PCSOs and Force Licensing Team for advice, to discuss any issues and introduce initiatives.’


Rob Palmer volunteers as a street pastor in Tavistock. He said: ‘We have been patrolling every Saturday night since November 2009 — we also do some Friday nights as well. We usually do circuits of Tavistock to make sure there isn’t any trouble.


‘The ring around scheme will be good as it will allow staff to contact the next pub in the chain to let them know about any potential trouble. They can ring us as well and we can speak with the door staff or pub staff — it is good for us to be aware of any trouble.


‘I think it is good for people to understand that Tavistock is a safe and peaceful town and we do everything we can to keep it that way but there is some trouble from time to time. There is less and less trouble than there used to be but the instances we do have are usually alcohol- related and we see it on the streets.


‘This is a useful extra tool to make sure that people are aware of potential problems. Lots of pubs in this town have invested a lot of money into refurbishing their businesses and it’s great that in a town of this size we have so many nice establishments.


‘A lot of people ask where the police are when these instances are taking place but they are out and about — we do see a police presence. We have a great neighbourhood police team and a good bunch of pub landlords.


‘We don’t want people to get the wrong impression. We aren’t a group of vigilantes but we are able to engage with people on the streets — we attempt to stop incidents from re-igniting.


‘We would give someone a lollipop and when needed, offer first aid. It is a peaceful place and a little bit more peaceful than when we started!’


John Hooker, owner of The Cornish Arms, said: ‘I think the new scheme is very good, it’s an incentive to bring pubs in the town together and it is good for the town. It makes us a united front against any trouble, although we are lucky that there is not a lot of trouble anyway.


‘We are working towards making it safer by building a line of communication where we can discuss any issues. A lot of time and effort has gone into setting up this scheme and I am very thankful as it is making Tavistock an even nicer place.’


Glen Duff, owner of Jack Chams, said: ‘I think it’s a good idea —hopefully the trouble makers will learn they can’t kick off in one pub and then move onto another and cause trouble there too.


‘I think a scheme like this has been needed in Tavistock for a while. I’d like to know why these people think they can come into my establishment and cause problems for other people who are trying to enjoy themselves. If I went into someone’s work place and started causing problems they wouldn’t like it.


‘I’d like to thank PC Cathy Veale and the PCSOs that work with her.’


Photograph and story courtesy of Tavistock Today