Revellers who would usually be automatically banned for drink or drug related offences will now be given the option to attend five sessions at Inspire, East Lancashire’s integrated substance misuse service, instead. Those already on the banned list will also be given the opportunity to have their ban revoked.
The scheme, called Chance to Change and run in partnership by Colne Pubwatch, Communities Against Night-time Disorder (CAND) and Inspire, began last week on a 12 month pilot. It has received backing from the police and Pendle Council’s licensing team.
There are currently 88 people banned from pubs in Colne and at least 16 expressed their interest in the scheme as soon as it was announced.
It is hoped that the scheme will reduce the number of alcohol and drug related incidents in and around Colne, making it a better place to live, work and visit.
Noel Buckley, co-chair of Colne Pubwatch and landlord at the Crown Hotel, said the scheme was proposed in response to a CAND policy introduced which meant that residents banned from one pub would be banned from all pubs in the town for a period between six months and five years.
“We found lots of people were then banned for silly reasons or for only drinking alcohol irresponsibly once so we set up this scheme with Inspire.
“This will point people in the direction of an organisation that can offer help and advice instead of being barred from all the pubs in Colne.
“If it is a success we will see about launching it in other towns and cities as well,” he said.
He added that residents would only be able to complete the course once and those who failed to attend the sessions would remain barred. Individuals involved in any further incidents will also not be given this course as an option.
Project manager at Inspire Lisa Cochrane said she was excited about the positive impact the scheme could have on people’s lives.
“Some of those who are on Colne’s banned list really do need help to overcome their problems and lifestyle issues.
“We want to highlight the harm that their current behaviour could cause to themselves and their families, as well as the wider community,” she said.
“Educating people about the impact their alcohol or substance use may be having will hopefully give them the knowledge and understanding to make safer, more sensible choices when out socialising.
“As well as helping those already experiencing more problematic issues, we hope this early intervention will reduce or prevent individuals experiencing or developing more serious issues with substances in the future,” she continued.
PC Mark Walker, who works with licensees to police Colne town centre, said the town has seen a significant year on year drop in violent crime and anti-social behaviour and he is hopeful that this pilot scheme will reduce that figure further.