Pub scheme is best for putting bar safety first

Wigan licencees with representatives of the Police, Ambulance and Fire services, Wigan Council and Best Bar None North West
Wigan licencees with representatives of the Police, Ambulance and Fire services, Wigan Council and Best Bar None North West

A PIONEERING scheme to ensure the safety of partygoers in Wigan town centre has returned for a second year.

Best Bar None is an accreditation and award scheme, backed by the Wigan Evening Post, which aims to reduce the impact of alcohol-related crime and disorder in Wigan town centre by working closely with pubs, bars and club owners to promote the responsible management of licensed premises.

To qualify, 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.

Accreditation is awarded only when judges are satisfied that a strict set of criteria are complied with premises needing to pass 33 of the 36 categories to receive the Best Bar None plaque.

These include, for instance, how premises control capacity or ensure door staff 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.

Launching the scheme in an event at Revolution bar in Wigan town centre, North West scheme co-ordinator Joe Curran said: “The Best Bar None schemes reduces crime and disorder, raises awareness of the health aspects of drinking alcohol and helps relieve the burden on our colleagues in the ambulance services and at A&E.

“It’s not about beating the trade with a big stick or regulating the trade, but supporting them to ensure they are sustainable.

“Alcohol retailing is a social networking activity which has helped people to relax and integrate with other people in the community for generations. It is also a massive employer and we hope the scheme will safeguard this while making Wigan a better place to visit.”

Tony Callaghan, owner of the InnTheBar pub chain, said: “We did very well last year and hope to equal or better that this time.

“The scheme is very important for Wigan and we are 100 per cent behind it. The Best Bar None scheme is running in most of the towns and cities where I trade and it’s something I have personally wanted to bring to Wigan for a long time.” The scheme is supported by Wigan Council.