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National Pubwatch website - a key tool for licensees

On 04/09/13 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

Pubwatches are the original partnership schemes specifically aimed at pub licensees – low cost, easy to set up and controlled by licensees and managers themselves. Not only are they successful in creating a safe drinking environment in an area’s licensed premises through close working with the authorities, banning troublemakers and sharing good practice, they often form the initial foundation for developing further partnership working in the future such as Best Bar None schemes.

In the light of increasing numbers of councils seemingly shunning effective and established partnership schemes by consulting on unfair and unproven policies such as late night levies and EMROs, it is more vital than ever that the voice of individual pubwatches are heard, especially given the results of the recent Leeds Metropolitan University report which showed that the vast majority of local authorities (76%), Police (70%) and licensees (70%) surveyed believed Pubwatch to be contributing to a safer drinking environment in local areas.

As a result, the national body supporting individual pubwatches is gaining more prominence. National Pubwatch – supporting existing pubwatches and helping pubs set up their own – provides a wealth of free guidance on their website for licensees wanting to set up their own scheme. This includes the Good Practice Guide designed to help those setting up pubwatches avoid potential legal pitfalls and provide an effective working structure. In addition the guide provides sample documents and other useful information about solutions to specific problems that a watch might have. Alongside this a range of other resources are available for free download including posters alerting customers to the fact the pub is in a Pubwatch scheme, BBPA guidance such as the managing safety risk assessment and Challenge 21, and videos showing the benefits of being in a scheme.

More recently the website has been upgraded to incorporate a Pubwatch tracker tool which shows the location of registered Pubwatches across the UK – currently standing at over 400 schemes but with many more expected to register. There is also a licensing Q&A section where licensees can put their questions to licensing experts and a new pilot initiative to aid police investigations into serious crimes affecting the pub and hospitality trade. This 'Information Wanted' section can be accessed through the website showing the very latest images of those being sought for criminal activity in licensed premises, aiding the detection of crime and again demonstrating the benefits of partnership working through pubwatches.

The BBPA has been a supporter and promoter of pubwatches and National Pubwatch for a number of years, and we urge members to promote their website to their lessees, tenants and managers – especially those new to the trade - as it contains everything they need to get a watch started or to find out if there is one already established in their area. There are many successful voluntary partnership schemes which are leading the way in the good management of public spaces, such as local Pubwatches, Best Bar None, Business Improvement Districts and Purple Flag, and should be encouraged at every opportunity.


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