Plymouth’s scheme was nominated having actively engaged 55 venues in the past decade – including local professional football club Plymouth Argyle – and overseen a significant reduction in crime and alcohol-related admission to A&E.
Launched in 2003, Best Bar None is a Home Office-backed UK-wide programme designed to improve standards within licensed premises through partnership with the trade, police and local authorities, and help reduce alcohol-related crime.
Torquay’s version of the project, established in January 2016, was highly commended in the Best Overall Scheme category, having collaborated with 19 licensed premises and overseen a 18.6% decline in public order offences in its short existence.
Bolton picked up the award for Best New Scheme in light of the impact it has had since its formation in January 2017. The first nine months of the programme – which involves 17 of Bolton's 25 town centre venues – saw the number of violent offences committed in licensed premises fall by 33%.
In the last of three prizes on offer for Best Bar None’s schemes, Sheffield picked up the award for Most Innovative Scheme. The seven-year-old scheme became the first to launch a Best Bar None app, which it has shared with a number of regional schemes across the country.
Best Bar None split a £5,000 prize across the three scheme award categories, with £3,000 awarded to Plymouth as winner of the Best Overall Scheme, and £1,000 to both Bolton and Sheffield.
PC Natalie Dolan of Greater Manchester Police was also singled out as the winner of the 'Outstanding Commitment Award'.
A society which socialises together is a stronger society
Lord Smith of Hindhead CBE commented: "I was delighted to become the chairman of Best Bar None at a time when it is increasingly important for the industry to maintain self-regulation, demonstrating that licensed premises are well run, responsible businesses that have a positive impact within our towns and cities.
"I have always believed that a society which socialises together is a stronger society. The so called ‘stay at home’ culture is not good for our industry and statistics show that people who drink in company consume less alcohol than those who stay at home, and they also benefit from social cohesion. We want more people to go out and enjoy our great pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.
"It is important to remind Government that the hospitality industry is the third largest private sector employer. Three million jobs are directly supported through Hospitality UK. That is 9% of all UK employees. And if we just take from that figure the statistics relating solely to eating and drinking out, then our pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants generate £63 billion turnover each year, returning a third of that turnover in taxes funding vital public services. In fact, one in three of all new jobs created last year was generated by the hospitality industry."
Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary under secretary of state for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability and minister for women, also addressed the guests. She commented: "The Government's Modern Crime Prevention Strategy contains new measures to prevent alcohol related crime by improving local intelligence, establishing effective partnerships and equipping the police and local authorities with the right powers.
"The strategy has also committed to launch a second phase of the Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) programme as part of our work to establish effective local partnerships to make the night time economy safer. Since its launch in January last year, we have been working with 32 areas across England and Wales to support local action, and working in partnership to tackle alcohol-related harms.
"An important part of that initiative was the founding of a highly successful Best Bar None scheme. I'm grateful for the work that Best Bar None and other schemes do to improve this essential partnership working, making our cities and towns that much safer.
"The Home Office supports Best Bar None because we share common objectives of reducing alcohol-related crime and disorder and promoting the responsible management of licensed premises and the licensed trade, working with businesses, the police and local authorities. The schemes that receive awards tonight provide excellent examples of the role that Best Bar None can play in achieving those objectives."