In Nottingham a major bar chain is paying for extra police officers to patrol the streets in this northern city to curb anti-social behaviour.
Yates Group, which operates 153 bars under the Yates and Ha Ha name and have branches of each in Brighton, are paying nearly £3,000 for a pilot which involves hiring two police officers from 9.30 p.m. to 1.30 a.m. every Saturday night for eight weeks. At £40 an hour that makes them considerably more expensive that a door supervisor but it is hoped that their uniformed presence will have a calming influence on the thousands of people who inject £1m into Nottingham's late night economy every weekend.
Yates Group has no control over the activity of the two police officers and cannot contact them directly if trouble starts in their venues. They can also be taken away from city centre duties if an emergency arises elsewhere in the city.
In Newcastle the nightclub operator Ultimate Leisure has had a similar scheme for some time with two officers patrolling the Bigg Market area, which is packed with clubs and bars. Even though all the outlets get the benefit, Ultimate shoulder the cost on their own because other operators have declined to contribute – a fact that is the source of resentment to Ultimate’s CEO Bob Senior. A Business Improvement District would remove the ‘free-loader’ element but it is doubtful that enough businesses would vote in favour. Another large operator is Mitchells & Butlers, which has six outlets in the Bigg Market and over 2000 in the UK including O’Neill’s and All Bar One chains but they point out that they already pay enough in taxes to finance the police. This is a stance that is supported by the industry body - the British Beer & Pub Association.
Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Business Improvement Districts
British Beer and Pub Association