Popular beaches along the coast from Whitley Bay to Tynemouth are part of Operation Coastwatch in the summer months.
As a joint initiative, Operation Coastwatch sees neighbourhood police officers team up with North Tyneside Council, RNLI lifeguards, the Coastguard and Street Pastors to help keep everyone safe on popular beaches.
Whitley Bay Street Pastors are out on a Friday night, from 6.30pm to dusk, with the usual kit bag plus throw lines for water rescues.
The team trains each year in May, when a registered trainer takes them through their paces.
Best Bar None is a national scheme that is raising standards in licensed venues and making a difference to public safety in the night-time economy
What is Best Bar None?
It’s an award scheme supported by the Home Office and aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.
You became Best Bar None’s national director in February 2015 after working in pubs and clubs for a long time. What was your first job?
My first job was in the retail trade and I was in that line for 10 years, and got started on the management ladder. This was in Kent. In my early 20s I transferred to the westcountry and bought a house. In order to pay the mortgage I took a job as doorman. While I was doing that (alongside my day job), a vacancy came up for nightclub manager. I thought that the product was different but the management was the same, so I went for it.
Since then you have run pubs and clubs up and down the country, from Plymouth to Morecombe to Essex. How did you get involved with BBN?
After a while I got the opportunity to take on my own clubs, working for myself. I was running a venue in Plymouth when I heard about the Best Bar None award scheme. At that point BBN was run by the police and they said that they had taken it as far as it could go. I put myself forward to chair the scheme in the city because I understood the principles of a well-managed venue. My years in pub and club management mean that when I go out I like to have quality, standards and good service. BBN ticks all those boxes.
So can you give us a potted history of BBN?
The Best Bar None award was started in 2003 by Greater Manchester Police. It was found to have a positive effect on the night-time economy so GM Police decided to roll it out nationally. I won the first Best Bar None award in Plymouth in 2009. Today schemes are operating in 70 towns or cities in the UK, with another 17 in development.
With thanks to Mick McDonnell. For more on the scheme and how it is raising standards in pubs and clubs see part 1 of this interview.
National Pubwatch (NPW) is a voluntary organisation that aims to help achieve a safe, secure and responsibly led social drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK and thereby reduce alcohol-related crime.
We’re delighted that NPW has decided to take the lead in highlighting the benefits that street pastors being to the night-time economy by sponsoring the training of a new cohort of volunteers with Westminster Street Pastors. The Westminster team has been in existence for almost five years and patrols on Friday and Saturday nights every week.
Chippenham Street Pastors recently hosted a “VIP night”, to which they invited their key partners.
“In Exeter, the inspiration behind bringing Best Bar None to the city was the Rugby World Cup. Three matches will take place in Exeter and so there was a general desire to ensure that visitors to the city will have a good experience. This was the perfect opportunity to set up Best Bar None,” says BBN’s national coordinator Mick McDonnell.
The Best Bar None scheme raises standards in licensed premises by promoting the responsible management and operation of pubs and clubs.
“Our first role in the process of launching the award scheme in a town or city is to bring people and organisations together. This formative group is often the Police licensing team, the council’s public protection officers and the licensees themselves.”
Mick McDonnell continues, “There has got to be a local desire for the scheme. We promote national licensing standards but bolted on to this are tools to deal with local issues.”
BBN’s criteria for licensees and managers
- Compliance with national licensing standards: public safety, child protection, crime and disorder, public nuisance.
- A venue’s own policies: does the pub or club have a glass collecting policy? An age verification policy? A health and safety policy? A fire risk assessment? How does it deal with crowding issues or public noise issues? The assessor will ask for evidence of these policies.
The aim is to challenge licensed premises to think about how they run their business in relation to public safety. As Mick says, “It’s a bit like an internal audit. If a venue meets the standards, it can advertise this with a certificate or plaque – something they can place in a prominent position outside their main entrance.”
Good news for punters
The last part of the process is for the local council and businesses to promote the fact that venues in their city have been awarded Best Bar None status. It’s obviously good news for punters and visitors, but what impact does it have on trade from the venue’s own point of view? Evidence shows that people stay longer and spend more in a venue that is well run.
In Exeter, three clubs passed their assessment before the scheme was officially launched back in March 2015. A further 54 venues have since expressed an interest in joining the scheme.