Hartlepool’s bar and pub licensees to help tackle drunken disorder

Darab Rezai outside of Marco Polo. Picture by FRANK REID
Darab Rezai outside of Marco Polo. Picture by FRANK REID

TOWN licensees are to join a national scheme as part of their zero tolerance approach to disorder.

Hartlepool Licencing Association members are to sign up to the Best Bar None initiative which rewards good management.

Darab Rezai, chairman of the association, says they have stepped up efforts to clamp down on drink-related disorder since police tried to bring an end to late night boozing beyond 2am through an Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order (EMRO).

Hartlepool Borough Council rejected the bid after hearing from bar managers that it could lead to job losses and businesses closures.

But the licensing association says it is working closely with police and the council to make the town centre a safe place for revellers.

Mr Rezai, who owns Zeus nightclub, in Whitby Street and other premises in town, said: “After the EMRO hearing Hartlepool Licencing Association has stepped up their efforts by putting in place measures to improve the drinking and socialising venues in the town.

“We would like to promote the town as a safe place to come and spend time whether during the day, night time or lunch time.

“We have got the full support of the police and Hartlepool Borough Council in eliminating any anti-social behaviour which are linked to drinking.

“We are not going to tolerate any violence, yob behaviour, drugs or any anti-social behaviour in general.”

The Best Bar None scheme sees licensees rewarded for proving they have strong policies in place for areas including security, drunkenness, drugs, and disorder.

It has been rolled out nationally after proving a success in Manchester.

The scheme’s director Simon Jackson will speak to Hartlepool licensees, police and council officers at a meeting on June 19.

Mr Rezai said: “It is a fantastic scheme for the bars and clubs. It is very vigorous with a high level of standards and guidelines which can only benefit operators as well as the public.”

He added the Barred from One Bared From All initiative is also being extended to include takeaways and other night time economy businesses.

Hartlepool Licensing Association, which has around 30 members, also wants to win council funding to promote the town as a whole and help improve its image.

Mr Rezai said: “We would like to change the image that some bars might have of a being a place just for binge drinking.

“Hartlepool is one of the few towns that doesn’t offer very cheap drink offers.

“We are implementing Best Bar None and being more vigorous with Barred From One Barred From All to make sure we don’t end up in a situation in one or two years time where police ask the council to bring in an EMRO.

“We also want to say to those individuals who cause trouble we are watching and you are not welcome.”