Pubs join forces to tackle drugs trade

PUBLISHED: 10:46 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:15 31 May 2010

Ron Jones outside The Sun pub, which will be taking part in the Pub Watch - Sarah Lucy Brown

Ron Jones outside The Sun pub, which will be taking part in the Pub Watch - Sarah Lucy Brown

A MAJOR initiative to cut booze-fuelled crime and drug dealing in Saffron Walden is set to be launched earlier than planned. Pub Watch was due to be set up by Essex Police in the summer but following a drugs operation, which centred around the Queen Eliza

A MAJOR initiative to cut booze-fuelled crime and drug dealing in Saffron Walden is set to be launched earlier than planned.

Pub Watch was due to be set up by Essex Police in the summer but following a drugs operation, which centred around the Queen Elizabeth pub, which lost its licence in February, it has been brought forward.

Ron Jones, landlord of The Sun in Gold Street, said he felt the scheme would be of great benefit.

"We'll definitely be taking part because of the drug problem in Saffron Walden," he said.

"The dynamic of the town has changed and we're getting a lot of people coming into our pub that we didn't used to.

"We've got rid of the people taking drugs in our pub, but there's nothing worse than someone coming in your pub blind drunk and the scheme will allow the pubs to work together."

The scheme, which will be launched at Saffron Walden Town Hall on Tuesday, April 17, will be open to pub licensees only.

Licensees across the town will join forces by calling each other if trouble breaks out in their pub and warning them in advance.

They will form a committee and hold regular meetings to discuss issues with the police and get updates on the law.

No two Pub Watch schemes in the county are the same, but all share the common goal of licensed premises managers and staff standing together against violence, drugs and disorder.

Enforcing banning arrangements, drugs collection and the writing of a code of practice are all elements, which can be implemented.

Supermarkets and restaurants will also be able to join the Pub Watch scheme in Saffron Walden in the future.

Stephen Sparrow, Essex Police's licensing officer for the central division, said: "We have had some serious police matters in Saffron Walden recently and that has focused our minds to launch the scheme earlier than we expected.

"Pub Watch will improve relationships and communication between the trade and the police and it will improve safety for pub users and reduce alcohol-related crime, disorder and public nuisance.

"It was going to be launched in the summer but we felt now was a good time to accelerate the formation of the scheme."

Chief Insp Graham Stubbs said the scheme was launched successfully in Great Dunmow last month.

"It was always our intention to roll out the scheme across the district and we would have launched it in Saffron Walden with or without the events at the Queen Elizabeth," he said.

"It will allow us to work much more closely with the trade but we cannot do this on our own, and the involvement of responsible licensees is absolutely vital to achieve our collective goals."

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