Letter: Pubwatch’s key role in protecting public

Harrogate’s Pubwatch Scheme was launched in 2015 to help ensure that Harrogate’s residents and visitors could safely enjoy eating, drinking and socialising in the town’s bars, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th February 2020, 10:30 am
Harrogate  Town Centre. Picture Gerard Binks
Harrogate Town Centre. Picture Gerard Binks

The scheme’s members are local licensees who share information on problem-causing individuals and a wide range of issues concerning Harrogate’s night-time economy.

The scheme operates under National Pubwatch rules in conjunction with the Harrogate and District Businesses Against Crime initiative, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Team and representatives from North Yorkshire Police.

Members meet each month and put forward the names of individuals who have caused problems in venues – from violence, aggression, theft, drug taking, drug dealing, using fake identification and general nuisance-causing.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Bans are imposed on individuals which prevent them from entering the town’s participating venues. Such bans can range in duration from three months to a life ban in the case of extreme violence, and for carrying weapons.

Information on the bans is circulated to members and they communicate via a radio link to advise other members’ premises if the individuals are spotted in town.

Late last year, due to the then chairman standing down, it seemed that the scheme might fold, so Becky Teale and myself, both representatives of two of Harrogate’s licensed venues, stepped in as chairman and vice chairman respectively.

Membership is steadily growing and there are currently 27 licensed premises in The Harrogate Pubwatch Scheme with several others showing interest.

Chairman Becky Teale said: “It would’ve been a shame if the scheme had folded as it is a major factor in protecting the public and individual venues and their staff from a minority of people who seek to cause trouble. When the members work together to prevent troublemakers from entering most venues in Harrogate, it sends out a powerful message”.

Despite the widely held view that Harrogate is a sleepy town, the current Harrogate Pubwatch statistics may come as a surprise to some:

l There are currently 106 individuals banned from all Pubwatch venues in Harrogate.

l 12 people have life bans from town centre licensed premises.

l Four individuals on the banned list are currently serving prison sentences – their bans are placed on hold whilst they serve their jail terms.

l Aggression, nuisance and drug taking are the three top reasons for bans being imposed.

l 18 individuals have had their bans extended as a result of attempting to enter venues whilst their bans were in place – in these cases, their bans are doubled in duration.

If you’d like any information on Harrogate Pubwatch, or you are a venue that would like to join the scheme, email [email protected]

Alan Huddart

Vice chairman, the Harrogate Pubwatch Scheme