Trade fears student pub crawl crackdown could encourage home drinking

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Licensee Dave Daly said the scheme "demonises students"
Licensee Dave Daly said the scheme "demonises students"
A Government crackdown on student pub crawls could encourage home drinking and demonise responsible young drinkers, the pub trade has warned.

The Home Office and the National Union of Students (NUS) are working with seven universities across the country on a pilot accreditation scheme in a bid to “create a social norm of responsible alcohol consumption by students”, it was announced last week.

The scheme will encourage the bodies to withdraw alcohol from their student unions or at least ensure that soft drinks cost less than alcoholic ones (including promotions). They will be expected to take action to “tackle or redress student participation in commercial pub crawls and/or social media drinking games” and prevent “alcohol-related initiation ceremonies”.

The universities taking part are in Swansea, Brighton, Manchester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Liverpool  and London.

The scheme encourages universities to work with licensed premises in their area to ensure students are drinking responsibly.


However, Nick Griffin, of the Brighton & Hove Licensees Association, said: “It would seem counter-productive to clamp down on organised activities that take place in a supervised environment served by those experienced in dealing with alcohol.

“One wonders what the alternative is — a plethora of house parties where little to no supervision will take place.”

Paul Scrivens, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) young members’ group, said the initiative runs the risk of “acting regressively”, with students turning to home drinking without the safeguards associated with licensed premises.


Dave Daly, north-west chairman of Licensees Unite, said that the scheme “demonises students” and questioned how the Government could crack down on “natural” acts of socialisation. “It is a great way for students to stick together and keep safe. It’s camaraderie in a great sense of the word,” Daly said.

“The police and the authorities need to train themselves to manage these groups. We have.”

John Ellis, of the Crown Inn in Oakengates, Shropshire, added: “The implication is that this is a criminal activity to be stamped out, rather than the re-education role that has been talked about in the past.”

However, Tom Smith, policy programme manager at Alcohol Concern, said: “We all know that universities often have heavy-drinking cultures. Student and university bodies need to take the welfare of their students far more seriously, doing more to limit alcohol-related harms.”

Related topics Licensing law

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