A community pubwatch scheme, in Swindon, is helping to significantly improve the night-time economy of the Wiltshire town.
The Groves Company Inn, The Savoy and The Sir Daniel Arms, the three Wetherspoon pubs in the ‘Old Town’ area, are reaping the benefits of the new initiative.
The new-look pubwatch scheme, run in partnership between Wiltshire police and inSwindon, the company dedicated to improving the town centre’s economic outlook, reported a reduction of drink-related crime, towards the end of 2012.
The number of alcohol-fuelled incidents in Swindon’s Old Town dropped in October 2012, seeing a reduction of 50 per cent in violent offences linked to the night-time economy, compared with the same period in 2011.
Dan Harrison, duty manager at The Sir Daniel Arms (pictured), attends the monthly pubwatch meetings and, as a scheme member, along with The Savoy and The Groves Company Inn, the pub works hard with the authorities to reduce drink-related offences.
Dan said: “The pub has been a member of a scheme since it first opened more than five years ago. However, since the relaunch of pubwatch, new improvements and initiatives have helped us all to share information and work together more easily.”
The pubwatch online ‘intelligence sharing facility’ was added at the end of last year, allowing members to upload and share text, files, CCTV video files and images. Intelligence-sharing is designed as a preventative measure, if pubs suspect that problems could arise.
The group-relay SMS system was added in January, enabling members to reach fellow members in an instant, via just one SMS message from a mobile phone to the shared pubwatch online number.
The introduction of the Swindon NightSafe programme, jointly run with inSwindon, has also helped Wiltshire police to identify consistent troublemakers.
Fifty-five people received sanctions in 2012, ranging from a warning letter to a two-year ban from all licensed venues across the pubwatch group.
Pubwatch said, in a statement: “We want to assure people who want to come out to enjoy themselves that they will not have their night ruined by a few. We still have a long way to go and have been consistent in our banning of troublemakers.”
PC Diffin, night-time economy beat manager, said: “This is what partnership working is all about: all parties using their skills and working together to resolve issues and provide a safe environment for the public.”