National Pubwatch in attack concern

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National pubwatch, Assault

Baker: concerned for licensees
Baker: concerned for licensees
The chairman of National Pubwatch has raised concern that licensees are being seen "as part of the problem" when they are assaulted in their...

The chairman of National Pubwatch has raised concern that licensees are being seen "as part of the problem" when they are assaulted in their premises.

Steve Baker is to hold a meeting with the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) on Friday 15 July to discuss the issue of violence towards licensees.

This follows a meeting he held with BBPA officials and representatives from the Home Office earlier this year on the same topic.

He said: "We just want to speak to other people working in the pub industry at a company level to discuss the problems of people working in the business and find out whether we can establish an industry-led initiative.

"Our previous campaign was about the number of cases that only reached the caution stage and never made it to the Crown Prosecution Service. We have concerns about licensees being seen as part of the problem when they are assaulted.

"There are a number of factors contributing to the problems, and the police have their part to play too."

Baker will use the case of licensee Stephen Leech, who was assaulted by two men, to highlight how hosts are not sufficiently protected against drunken violence.

Leech told the Publican's Morning Advertiser he is selling the freehold of the Miners Arms in Sutton-in-Ashfield after the attack by two men who escaped jail terms. He said: "The problem is licensees do not seem to be protected. I am 53 and have to deal with lads of 24 and 25 beating me to a pulp. I've had enough, and the first decent offer I receive I am off."

Under new sentencing guidelines for assault causing actual bodily harm, the defendants could not be sent straight to prison.

In March, National Pubwatch secured success in helping to gain tougher sentencing for thugs who attack licensees or barstaff.

New guidelines from the Sentencing Council for the first time stated that assaults on pub staff should be considered more serious as they provide a public service.

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