New guidance notes published today outline the procedures and powers available to local authority licensing officers and police officers to manage safe pub/bar crawls in a positive way.
Developed with the support of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Home Office, the resource, commissioned by NUS and Drinkaware, highlights the legal powers in the Licensing Act available to law enforcers to tackle the negative issues often associated with large scale pub/bar crawls.
This follows a study into commercial pub/bar crawls in response to increasing concerns about the health and social cost of events targeted at students.
Findings revealed that organisers of commercial events can do more to sufficiently supervise the participants and limit the event’s impact on public services.
The research, conducted by the Centre for Public Health based at Liverpool John Moores Unviersity, measured the drinking habits of students participating in pub/bar crawls across England. It found that the scale of some larger events rendered organisers’ efforts to avoid negative consequences ineffective.
A fifth (21%) of participants had illegally drunk alcohol in the street, despite street drinking bans, and the majority (87%) had consumed alcohol before joining the pub/bar crawl (pre-loading).
Young adults consumed, on average, more than four times the government recommended daily unit guidelines for alcohol* during the night – women typically drank around 13 units and men consumed 18 units.
A follow-up survey found that 14% of participants reported hurting themselves, for example falling over, on the night.
The guidance provides a model event organisers, law enforcers, universities and local partners can use to reduce the harm associated with pub/bar crawls. It recommends that organisers take greater responsibility for student safety and work more closely with venues and local law enforcement officers to prevent a good night turning bad.
Key recommendations include:
- Law enforcement officers, universities and student unions should share knowledge and experiences of commercial pub/bar crawls.
- In the planning stages, law enforcement officers should make bar crawl organisers and venues aware of their legal responsibilities and seek to identify and resolve anything which contravenes these.
- Local law enforcement officers should liaise with bar crawl organisers and venues to write a voluntary Bar Crawl Code of Conduct to ensure the safety and legality of event, in the interests of both participants and the public.
- To limit the impact on local public services and avoid harm to participants, law enforcers should work with organisers to agree an upper limit on the size of bar crawls, appropriate to the area. Organisers should also be encouraged to arrange for all bar crawls to be supervised by first aid trained stewards.
Pete Mercer, Vice President of Welfare at NUS says:
"As we see an increase in commercial bar crawls, it will be crucial for students' unions, local police forces and councils to work together to minimise the detrimental impact they can have on the health and wellbeing of students, as well as on the local community.
"This practical guide for law enforcement officers is a welcome and responsible step forward in providing appropriate advice and support to ensure that students can enjoy their night out but also protect themselves and each other while they're at it. It is equally vital that commercial organisers stop burying their heads in the sand and take their responsibility for the safety of students seriously."