Good sense prevails for pubwatch

By Andrew Pring

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Common sense, Judge, Law, Human rights

Pring: Great victory for pubwatch
Pring: Great victory for pubwatch
Amidst some rather bizarre human-rights legislation, it's refreshing to see common sense protecting licensees and customers from troublemakers, says MA editor Andrew Pring

Morning Advertiser has always championed pubwatches. We believe it's essential a licensee can bar anyone he or she considers unfit to drink in their pub.

And we've always upheld the right of licensees to group together to keep troublemakers out of every pub in the locality, if that's what it takes to uphold safe and pleasant conditions for decent customers. We helped form National Pubwatch more than 10 years ago to assist and strengthen pubwatches all round the country.

At a time when the industry is still under intense scrutiny by politicians, it would have been madness if a High Court judge had found last week against pubwatches.

Mercifully, common sense prevailed and the presiding judge ruled that pubwatches are legal and can't be challenged by embittered individuals, who — no doubt for very good reasons — find they can't buy a drink in the pubs they used to frequent.

It might have been so different. In these days of bizarre human rights sanctioned by the European Court of Justice, common sense is too often shown the door. If the judge had found against pubwatches, no one would have been particularly surprised. What times we live in.

Buckingham Pubwatch is to be applauded for taking this case all the way to the High Court. And so too is JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin for funding the legal costs, even though his company has no pubs in that county.

The result should be built on. Even though there are pubwatches everywhere, there is still room for more — and for more licensees to join up. Off-licences, too, need to get more behind their local pubwatches and sign up to defeat the troublemakers.

National Pubwatch, under-funded though it is, does a great job in keeping pubwatches in touch with latest developments. It will no doubt use this legal victory to sign up new recruits and strengthen the institution.

You don't need to agree with David Cameron, who has just said town centres resemble the Wild West, to see how crucial it is that pubwatches continue to help licensees act together against thugs.

If the trade is to maintain its self-regulation in the face of damning (though lightweight) management consultants' reports, it needs to be able to point to organisations such as pubwatch and show how effective they can be.

It behoves every licensee to sign up to his or her local pubwatch, and to play an active role in the local community, ensuring that drinks-linked trouble is kept to an absolute minimum.

The MA Responsible Drinks Retailing Awards, which are unveiled in November, salute the value of pubwatches, as well as licensees generally. Do make sure you enter your pub and your pubwatch. If Tim Martin can get so involved in safeguarding their future, so should you.

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