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A partnership approach to safer drinking

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A partnership approach to safer drinking
Article date: 22 Oct 2013

Wetherspoon’s pub managers are at the heart of things, when it comes to safer social drinking in Birmingham.

Phil Edmonds at The Square Peg and John Opolli at The Briar Rose are the co-founders of the Birmingham City Centre pubwatch scheme.

John, who has been at the pub and hotel for five years, said: “When I arrived at The Briar Rose, there was a pubwatch scheme, but it wasn’t very well supported and quickly fell by the wayside.

“When Phil took over at The Square Peg, two and a half years ago, he got in touch with National Pubwatch, about setting up a new initiative, and has been the driving force behind it for the past year. He is the chair and I am the treasurer of the group.”

A team effort, which includes the police, the licensing team and street wardens, as well as licensees, the scheme tackles various issues to help to make Birmingham a safer place in which to socialise. There are 26 member venues in the city centre.

A retail radio scheme for pubs, clubs, shops and restaurants enables venues to keep in touch about potential problems and issues. They also e-mail one another with information about forthcoming events.

A monthly pubwatch meeting also includes a talk from various services, including street wardens, paramedics and the fire service, which have all hosted presentations, with tips on how to make the venues safer places.

John said: “Phil and I also attend the fortnightly Colmore BID (Business Improvement District) meetings, with Birmingham City Council, a scheme to help the night-time economy in our area.

“We have had major problems with aggressive beggars, working closely with the police to resolve these. We are tackling mobile phone and bag theft and generally keeping our ears to the ground.”

Phil (pictured) said: “We also launched the Birmingham Best Bar None 2013 awards at The Square Peg this year, which was a great honour.

“The Square Peg has been voted ‘best city-centre pub’ for the past two years and also achieved ‘overall winner’ status for 2012. This year’s winners will be announced in November.”

As overall winner, The Square Peg was shortlisted for the National Best Bar None awards.

Meanwhile, The Briar Rose has been named as TripAdvisor 2013 Certificate of Excellence winner, for consistently earning high ratings from those using TripAdvisor.

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