Ipswich: Bar bosses unite to drive trouble out of town

IPSWICH: Banned from one, banned from all.

That’s the resounding message from those wanting to ensure Ipswich is a safe venue for a night out.

More than 55 licensed premises are signed up to the Ipswich Barwatch scheme while 20 are accredited by Best Bar None.

Mik Stoddard and Pat Comber, landlords of The Golden Hind in Nacton Road, have credited the schemes with helping them turn around the pub’s fortunes.

Mr Stoddard said: “The pub was known as a bit of a trouble hot-spot before. We don’t have the issues we used to have to deal with because we have spent the last five years getting rid of the wrong sorts and helping to ensure they are not allowed on other premises.

“Schemes like Best Bar None and Pubwatch are great because the way they operate means the ne’er do wells of the world don’t end up on our premises causing issues.”

Mr Stoddard added that he would love all licensed premises to sign up to Barwatch which could lead on to getting accreditation from Best Bar None.

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“That would be ideal for me,” he said. “It’s the way we would like to see our customers treated elsewhere and how we would like to be treated.”

Under the Barwatch scheme, drinkers who misbehave risk not only being barred from the premises they cause trouble in, but all Barwatch premises.

Sheryl McGeown, landlady of The Spread Eagle, said: “We can all bar our own people for misdemeanours but if it’s something that we feel is threatening or could harm to our staff and customers, we can take it to the Barwatch committee and get that person barred from all Barwatch premises.

“Customers need to know they can’t go into people’s homes and businesses and behave like animals. It’s all about respect.”

Both Quayside and Issacs are also members of Barwatch and Best Bar None.

Kimberley Wright, duty manager at Isaacs, said Barwatch provided reassurance to the Waterfront premises.

“The scheme helps with communication between the bars and having the radios to link up with each other is brilliant because it lets us know what’s happening in the town centre,” she said.

“Being on the Waterfront it connects us with the town centre which is a really useful tool.”

Fellow duty manager Melissa Cable added: “Ipswich gets a lot of flak for not being a nice place to go out but it has improved an awful lot.

“I personally have always thought Ipswich was safe and have never experienced any trouble on a night out.”

Gary Johnson, head doorman at Groove nightclub, said the scheme challenges people’s perceptions of Ipswich as a trouble hot-spot.

“You will have trouble in any large town but considering the size of Ipswich, we have very little in comparison,” he added.

During the build-up to the festive season Best Bar None ran a night bus through pubs, bars and clubs in Ipswich to ensure revellers enjoyed a safe night out.

n What are your experiences of Ipswich’s nightlife? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or alternatively e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk