Best Bar None
Sgt. Jan Brown and Inspector Steve Greenacre, Greater Manchester Police
The Best Bar None Awards scheme was developed by the Manchester City Centre Safe project as part of its remit to address alcohol related crime. Work in this area was a result of the findings of the British Crime Survey in 2001 and other local data analysis which showed that a significantly high proportion of crime (both violent and acquisitive) was directly or indirectly attached to licensed premises with poor management standards.
Development work on the awards began in Manchester in late 2001, as extensive discussions were held with various bodies within the alcohol industry to devise a way of setting a common benchmark of operating standards for pubs and clubs.
It was felt that a way of incentivising operators to raise standards was required to complement targeted enforcement activity which was also being pioneered by City Centre Safe at this time.
Best Bar None sets a baseline standard and, if used effectively, should develop and improve these standards year on year. For this reason it is clearly a worthwhile exercise in itself. However, on its own it cannot be expected to reduce all the problems concerned with the operation of the night time economy in any given area. For this to happen, it needs to be embedded within a truly holistic crime reduction partnership initiative.
The Best Bar None scheme is not about enforcement. It is about development. However, it greatly assists enforcement activity by setting the required standards of operation and by providing a constructive partnership framework within which to effect sustainable long term change.