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Pubwatch scheme is a great success 25 July 2008

Pubwatch - Margaret O'Reilly, Darren Bradford, Frank MarnellTHE effectiveness of Pubwatch has been highlighted by a prominent member of the organisation’s national committee.

Frank Marnell visited the Isle of Man this week to enjoy a first-hand look at the progress that is being achieved at local level. Pubwatch is the licensed trade’s equivalent of Neighbourhood Watch and is aimed at promoting responsible drinking in a safe environment.

Mr Marnell, who is also joint chairman of Chester Pubwatch, said the initiative had helped to reduce alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour throughout the British Isles. It has the full support of the police and allows licensees and designated officials to join forces against individuals who threaten damage, disorder or violence on licensed premises. In more serious cases troublemakers can be banned from all pubs and clubs affiliated to a particular Pubwatch scheme.

Mr Marnell stressed that a multi-agency approach lay at the heart of Pubwatch, with organisations such as the emergency services, government departments and voluntary groups working in partnership with licensees in order to achieve common goals.

As well as combating unruly behaviour, members of the scheme also take a pro-active approach towards a wide range of alcohol-related issues. They promote good practice and provide a voice for the concerns and challenges facing the licensed trade such as binge drinking, drug crime and proof of age identification.

Pubwatch was introduced in the Isle of Man seven years ago following the creation of the Central Alcohol Unit and operates five separate schemes – Douglas and Onchan, Northern, Western, Southern and Laxey and Lonan. A total of 127 local premises have voluntarily signed up to Pubwatch and members hold regular meetings to discuss matters arising within their own areas.

Plans are also being progressed to host the first all-Island Pubwatch seminar to bring together the different schemes and provide a platform for an exchange of views. The proposal is being taken forward by the Department of Home Affairs and it is hoped that an event will take place in September. Mr Marnell’s lent his support to the plans during a meeting with PC Darren Bradford of the Central Alcohol Unit and Margaret O’Reilly, co-ordinator of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

PC Bradford said:

'Pubwatch has been a great success in the Isle of Man and has helped to foster an excellent working relationship between the police and members of the licensed trade.'

Mrs O’Reilly added:

‘We would welcome the opportunity to stage an all-Island seminar so that members of the five separate schemes can gather together and share ideas. This is an example of another positive initiative being carried out under the umbrella of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy.’

Photo caption details

(Left to right) Margaret O’Reilly, director of drug and alcohol policy and research, PC Darren Bradford of the Central Alcohol Unit and Frank Marnell, joint chairman of Chester Pubwatch and a member of the National Pubwatch committee

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