On-trade

Clubbing ‘traffic light’ system proposed for NI by PSNI

ProposaIs to introduce a ‘traffic light’-style rating system for nightclubs in NI has been put forward by the PSNI in order to tackle alcohol-based crime and disorder around Belfast bars and nightclubs.

The system envisages red, amber or green ratings for nightclubs depending on their degree of linkage to violent incidents or alcohol-related crime.

A persistent red rating could find some bars and nightclubs facing penalties including licence restrictions.

The ratings would comprise any alcohol-related crime and disorder incidents, assaults or underage sales and other incidents involving doorstaff.

The system, first introduced in Cardiff in Wales, grades premises on their size and the number of alcohol-related incidents attributed to their operation. On receipt of a red rating, a licensing officer agrees an action plan with the premises concerned and the police visit the premises every Friday and Saturday night.

According to the PSNI, the Cardiff scheme “was instrumental in helping Cardiff City Council to improve the management and safety of the night-time economy”.

A range of NI stakeholders is working with the PSNI in relation to the the proposed new ‘traffic light’ system including Pubs of Ulster.

“Whilst Northern Ireland does not have a night-time economy anywhere near the scale of that in Cardiff, the Welsh model should still be an effective tool in managing and protecting the industry locally,” said PoU’s Chief Executive Colin Neill, “The proposed new system, if implemented, would essentially act as a barometer, highlighting potential issues before they escalate to a more serious level. Ongoing monitoring would allow the licensee and the PSNI to work together to identify the reasons behind any shift in the number of incidents and look at ways to address the problem as soon as possible.

“This is another example of the importance of co-operation between the industry and outside bodies such as the PSNI. Pubs of Ulster will continue to work closely with the police on the key issues affecting the licensed trade in order to build and maintain a responsible environment that everyone can enjoy.”

Belfast City Council has also asked the PSNI to brief it on its proposals.

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