Pub drunks deterred by landlords' safety scheme

PUBLISHED: 10:35 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:36 16 June 2010

Colin McMullen and Paul Mallett.

Colin McMullen and Paul Mallett.

Copyright Archant Ltd

PUB landlords in an East Devon town say the success of a group dedicated to protecting staff and their customers has led to a safe pub-scene in the town.

PUB landlords in an East Devon town say the success of a group dedicated to protecting staff and their customers has led to a safe pub-scene in the town.

For 21 years the Ottery and District Publicans' Association has been running, and was set up thanks to Colin McMullen - a former local policeman.

More than 20 pubs and licensed premises in and around the town - stretching from Rockbeare to Clyst Honiton - are signed up to the association.

The main aim of the group is to provide a safe and secure atmosphere for pub-goers and to encourage families into the friendly fold.

Paul Mallett, landlord of the New Fountain Inn, Whimple, and chairman of the association, said: "We are determined to keep it comfortable and peaceful for our customers."

To ensure their pubs are safe, all landlords abide by the association's constitution and can vote to ban disruptive individuals from a certain pub or all of the pubs for an indefinite amount of time. People can appeal to lift the ban after 12 months. The association also formed a ring-around system so all landlords would be informed of any troublesome characters in the area.

Mr Mallett, 59, added: "I can't remember the last time we banned someone."

Mr McMullen, founder of the association, said: "When I arrived in Ottery in 1987 as a policeman, there was quite a culture of drinking among the fellas and a lot of low-level drink inspired crime." But, he says, since the association was founded there has been a dramatic drop in violent and drunken incidents in the town.

"It became very peaceful very quickly," added Mr McMullen.

"The prospect of being banned from not only your local but any pub within the association acts as a great deterrent."

Members meet once a month and update one another on any incidents. Police also attend the meetings and in the past have given talks and presentations - on subjects such as violence and drugs.

Mr Mallett said: "We are trying to encourage more people to use their locals and show how safe they are for families- we will look after them.


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