'Best Bar None better than Licensing Act'

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing act Want

Lord Redesdale believes BBN can fill in where there are cut backs
Lord Redesdale believes BBN can fill in where there are cut backs
Best Bar None (BBN) has done far more to reduce violence and encourage partnership than the Licensing Act, says Lord.

Best Bar None (BBN) has done far more to reduce violence, encourage partnership and increase the quality of the late night economy than the Licensing Act, a Peer has claimed.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, chairman of BBN, said the success of the scheme in making the night time environment safer and therefore increasing footfall was beyond doubt. The scheme in Durham has led to a 52% drop in crime, and a 28% increase in trade at some venues.

BBN sees pubs and clubs accredited for the steps they take to be responsible, across a range of areas including search policies and age-check procedures.

"Politicians have an urge to introduce regulation on the drink industry but we have an opportunity to stop that through Best Bar None and it is cheap," he said at a Parliamentary reception to reward the national winners. "I'm trying to tell Government that we don't need regulation.

"Best Bar None has done far more than all the regulation and red tape produced by the Licensing Act."

He added that BBN had a real chance of growing from its current size of 100 schemes nationwide because of the looming cutbacks. "The real issue is there will be cut backs but Best Bar None reduces the cost to the economy and increases the quality of the night time economy," he said.

Tory MP James Brokenshire, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime Reduction at the Home Office, said the Home Office was "pleased" with its strong partnership with BBN. "It is an example of how the Big Society works," he said.

Brokenshire said the Government would rebalance the Licensing Act and that there would be "further action on those who are not here tonight and do not act responsibly" but also stressed there would also be a late night levy on all premises.

The Police and Reform Bill will also map out changes to give local people more of a say on how and where police would be deployed.

He said it was clear the public don't want scenes of excess and anti-social behaviour but they also don't want to see police taken away from dealing with other crime such as burglary.

He urged the industry to "work with us to meet those challenges".

Bruce Ray, director of external affairs at BBN sponsor Bacardi Brown-Forman, warned the industry remained under attack from the media, medical profession and internal squabbling.

He called for unity to find the solution to excessive drinking. "The public don't see it as the wine industry or the convenience stores," he said. "Whether it is cheap promotions, serving drunks or serving under-18s. It affects us all. It damages the whole industry."

Ray said the industry had two choices — be like the tobacco industry or the car industry. "When a car is caught speeding, it is the individual that gets the penalty not the car manufacturer," he said.

"The same should be true of our industry if we make the environment safe and responsible."

The Frog and Parrot in Sheffield, a Greene King managed pub, was crowned the overall national venue winner.

Related topics Licensing law

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