Ipswich: Pioneering bar scheme has drastically cut night-time trouble in town

The launch of The Best Bar None scheme last year at The Dove, Ipswich. William Coe, Tim Passmore, Be

The launch of The Best Bar None scheme last year at The Dove, Ipswich. William Coe, Tim Passmore, Becky Kidd-Stanton, Terry Hunt and David Ellesmere - Credit: Archant

Police and community leaders have called on every pub and club in Ipswich to join a pioneering scheme credited for drastically cutting late-night crime and disorder.

Organisers behind Ipswich’s Best Bar None scheme have revealed plans to increase the number of signed-up nightspots to a total of 50 by the end of October.

It comes as new figures show the number of crimes related to late-night revellers has dramatically fallen in the town.

The Best Bar None scheme promotes responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.

It aims to reduce the harmful effects of binge drinking, highlight the positive effect of bar staff acting with greater responsibility and improve the reputation of towns and cities – making them more desirable places in which to spend a night out.

Some 19 businesses in Ipswich are currently fully-fledged members following assessments, while 15 others have been granted accreditation.

The scheme launched in Ipswich in September 2010. It won national recognition in the first year for being the “most innovative scheme” in the country.

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Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore pleaded for every nightspot to sign up, saying it would be a “utopian situation” if Ipswich had a blanket cover.

“It has been well worth the taxpayers’ money,” he said.

“It has reduced anti-social behaviour and improved the reputation of the town centre, encouraging more people to spend more money and increase jobs.

“Ipswich is leading the way and maybe other parts of Suffolk will follow.”

His remarks followed new figures which showed accredited venues have seen a significant drop in night-time related offences.

They fell from 1,446 in 2011 to 1,063 in 2013. Violence with injury (including robbery) dropped from 596 to 402, while disorder fell from 507 to 352.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer urged every nightspot to join, saying: “Crime is falling and targeted police action has had a contributory effect.

“Signing up is good business sense. If you have got a well-run establishment then people will feel safe, so I urge anyone who is not a member of this scheme to join.”

Benefits for nightspot owners include free publicity at the Tourist Information Office, free advice and support, and winning recognition in raising standards.

To be awarded accreditation, nightspot owners must prove they have high standards in the prevention of public nuisance, protection of children and health, public safety and prevention of crime and disorder.

The scheme is supported by Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Constabulary and Ipswich Central.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said the scheme has “gone down a storm” with businesses, insisting the scheme was on track to cover 50 nightspots by the end of October.

He said 100,000 people have downloaded an information pack on Best Bar None, while 2,500 read about the scheme on the All About Ipswich mobile phone app.

“It is about encouraging licensed premises to improve the way they handle themselves and their customers; making sure they are treated fairly and are safe,” he said.

“It is about encouraging them to raise their own standards.”

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “Ipswich Best Bar None has been a great success for residents and visitors enjoying pubs and clubs in the evening.

“We now want to recruit more members to join us. There are many benefits for businesses and Ipswich people and that is the message we want to get across.”