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First all-Island Pubwatch seminar 17 September 2008

Pubwatch - Margaret O'Reilly, Darren Bradford, Frank MarnellAN all-Island Pubwatch seminar is taking place at the Sefton Hotel this Friday to review the progress achieved over the past seven years and discuss plans for the future.

The event will bring together representatives from the five regional schemes – Douglas and Onchan, Northern, Western, Southern and Laxey and Lonan – for the first time. It has been organised and funded under the umbrella of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy to provide a platform for an exchange of views about Pubwatch projects, successes and challenges.

Frank Marnell, a member of the UK Pubwatch committee, will join local guest speakers to highlight the effectiveness of the scheme and outline the work that is currently being undertaken. Pubwatch is the licensed trade’s equivalent of Neighbourhood Watch and is aimed at promoting responsible drinking in a safe environment.

It was introduced in the Isle of Man seven years ago following the creation of the Central Alcohol Unit and has since contributed to a reduction in alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour. A total of 127 local premises have voluntarily signed up to the scheme and members hold regular meetings to address matters arising within their own regions.

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 scheme.

As well as combating unruly behaviour, the Isle of Man Pubwatch groups also take a pro-active approach towards a wide range of 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.

The all-Island seminar will provide an opportunity for representatives from the five separate schemes to meet and review the work that has taken place since 2001. Members will be encouraged to share ideas, evaluate regional initiatives and discuss the future direction of Pubwatch in the Island.

PC Darren Bradford of the Central Alcohol Unit said:

‘Pubwatch has been a tremendous success in the Isle of Man in terms of developing a close working relationship with the licensed trade. It was one of the first partnerships the IoM Constabulary entered into formally and it is still going strong. In fact it has been used a model for other partnerships in the Island.’

Margaret O’Reilly, director of drug and alcohol policy and research, added:

‘The all-Island seminar is an example of another positive initiative being progressed as part of the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy. Pubwatch is helping to promote a more responsible attitude towards drinking which is one of the fundamental aims of the Strategy.’

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