Pubwatch schemes key to fight against alcohol-related crime
The study, led by Dr Alexandra Kenyon, Penny Wymer and James Clark at Leeds Metropolitan and commissioned by National Pubwatch, gathered the views of nearly 1,200 key stakeholders, including licensees and representatives from the police and local councils, across the UK, evaluating the effectiveness and strengths of the schemes, the contribution Pubwatch has on crime reduction and community safety and examining how National Pubwatch can support and guide local schemes in the future.
The research findings were presented this week by Dr Kenyon at the tenth National Pubwatch Conference in Birmingham and show that almost two-thirds of respondents agree that their local Pubwatch scheme has contributed to a decrease in the amount of alcohol-related violence in their premises and local area.
A further 80% agreed that their local scheme helped create a safer drinking environment, with more than half saying the amount of antisocial behaviour in their local area had fallen thanks to their pubwatch.
Dr Kenyon commented: "This aim of the research was to establish the key benefits of National and Local Pubwatch Schemes for a range of stakeholders and make recommendations to improve the Scheme. The findings show that many stakeholders involved feel Pubwatch is helping to create a safer environment for customers and staff working in the night-time economy. This is because it has both helped to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder and is an excellent example of working in partnership."
Northamptonshire Chief Constable, Adrian Lee, the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead for alcohol licensing and harm reduction, added: "Working alongside organisations such as National Pubwatch has proven to be extremely beneficial in striking a good balance between people having a good time and public safety. Alcohol still contributes significantly to crime and antisocial behaviour across our communities and it will take a combined effort to change the behaviour and culture in our town centres. Pubwatch supports licensees in working alongside the police and councils to improve the drinking environment."
The study has shown that licensees, police and local councils feel their area has benefited from their Pubwatch scheme, with comments such as: "The amount of late night crime and disorder has reduced dramatically in the past twelve months" and another stating that their scheme: "helped reduce crime and disorder five years in a row."
Local Pubwatch schemes have had great success with their 'Banned From One, Banned From All' rule, which makes managers and staff feel confident in excluding unruly people from their premises. One licensee reflected: "we can reduce the crime and disorder in our pubs and venues by banning the ones that cause the disorder."