Pubwatch success on tougher sentencing

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National pubwatch, Assault

Court not Caution: Pubwatch success
Court not Caution: Pubwatch success
National Pubwatch has secured a crucial success in helping to gain tougher sentencing for thugs who attack licensees or bar staff. New guidelines...

National Pubwatch has secured a crucial success in helping to gain tougher sentencing for thugs who attack licensees or bar staff.

New guidelines from the Sentencing Council for the first time specifically state that assaults on pub staff should be considered of a more serious nature because they are providing a service to the public.

"The new format of the guideline also makes it easier for sentencers to identify the most important factors increasing the seriousness of an offence," the guide said.

"This includes offences committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public.

"The broad wording would encompass both those providing vital services to the public, such as emergency services personnel, but also those working, for example, as pub staff and shop workers."

National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker welcomed the new guidelines. "I am hopeful this will mean more serious action against offenders than a caution," he said.

"Licensees have felt they are dealt with as part of the problem in the past because they sell alcohol.

"It is important now that if licensees are assaulted they are vocal in telling the police assault on someone providing a public service it is an aggravating factor.

"They also need to tell them about how injuries have affected them and if they have had time off work or operations because all this is important in sentencing."

A second change to the guidelines will see greater focus on the seriousness of the harm to the victim and less emphasis on pre-meditation — for example when injuries are caused in the heat of a moment during a pub fight at closing time.

However, Baker said the Court not Caution campaign would continue. "We still think there are too many serious assaults classified as common assaults and dealt with cautions and not court. People should be made to face up to their responsibilities."

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