A nationally recognised scheme designed to reduce the impact of alcohol-related crime and disorder in Wigan town centre has been launched.
Best Bar None is an accreditation and award scheme which promotes the responsible management of licensed premises. It has a proven track record in improving standards and reducing crime associated with the night time economy across the country.
To qualify for Best Bar None accreditation, pubs, bars and clubs are required to meet certain standards in operational management, particularly in relation to measures designed to reduce crime and disorder, prevent public nuisance, promote public safety, protect children from harm and raise awareness around alcohol consumption.
Governed by the British Institute of Inn Keeping and approved by the Home Office, Best Bar None was first piloted in Manchester in 2003. Today, there are more than 100 schemes running in town centres across the UK, with two schemes recently being rolled out in Canada.
The scheme is endorsed and supported by agencies including Wigan Council, Greater Manchester Police, the NHS and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue.
Following a high profile launch at Little 15s on Wallgate, Best Bar None co-ordinators will spend the next few months engaging with all town centre premises, urging managers to apply for accreditation.
Accreditation is awarded only when judges are satisfied that a strict set of criteria are complied with. These include, for instance, how premises control capacity or ensure doorstaff are licensed. It also considers how premises assess the impact of noise or litter on the community and how they ensure policies and procedures around illegal substances are adhered to - amongst other things.
Once bars, pubs and nightclubs have been accredited, judges will then determine which ones have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community safety. Winners in each of these three categories will be recognised in an awards ceremony later in the year.
Inspector Glenn Jones of Wigan Neighbourhood Policing team says: “Even though Wigan has one of the safest town centres in Greater Manchester, there are some issues which continue to raise concerns, including for example the sale of alcohol to intoxicated people.
“Best Bar None provides a benchmark for businesses trading in the night time economy and provides opportunities for more vigorous engagement so we can work together to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder.”
Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet portfolio holder for safer communities, says:
“Working in partnership with the police, health and other agencies, Wigan Council teams – including Trading Standards, the Drug and Alcohol Team, Environmental Protection, Neighbourhoods and Cleansing - are committed to making this scheme work.
“By ensuring our town centre pubs, bars and clubs run safe businesses, we will not simply help to reduce crime but also cut down on alcohol-related hospital admissions attributed to illness and injury.
“Not only does this make sound financial sense in an era when budgets across the entire public sector are stretched, it also means that an even greater number of visitors are likely to be attracted to our town centre because of its growing reputation as a safe and fun night time destination.”
Tony Callaghan, who owns the InnTheBar pub chain, has been looking forward to the scheme being introduced in Wigan for some time.
"Through my network of pubs and bars, I've been involved in Best Bar None in Oldham, Chorley and Doncaster and so I'm already aware of the advantages of the scheme and not just to the bigger operators. Smaller, independent operators can really benefit from Best Bar None because it gives them access to free, expert advice and support from all the various partnership agencies."
He adds: "Best Bar None gives licensed premises a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that they are prepared to go that extra mile when it comes to ensuring they run a responsible business in the interests of customers and the community safety. I'm delighted that the scheme is being introduced in Wigan, and look forward to it being rolled out to other parts of the borough."
Sponsors already confirmed to support the scheme include Diageo (GB) LWV Printworks & Britvic soft Drinks.
For further information visit the Best Bar None (External link)