PUBS across Harwich and Dovercourt have been helping to keep customers safe while they celebrate the Christmas period. 

Pubs across the two towns have signed up to Pubwatch. 

The schemes are  local, independent groups formed of people working in licensed premises.

Their aim is to achieve a safer drinking environment by tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour and criminal activity and by sharing information between licensees and the police.

Steve Bennett, Essex Police licensing officer, said: “The Pubwatch scheme promotes safe and responsible drinking in the Harwich and Dovercourt area.

"It’s an important alert system for licensed premises to keep staff and customers safe. Everybody benefits.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Collaboration - Essex Police licensing officer Steve Bennett, Shakers Bar owner Becky Gawn and a staff memberCollaboration - Essex Police licensing officer Steve Bennett, Shakers Bar owner Becky Gawn and a staff member (Image: Essex Police)

“The Tendring district is safe but you’re always going to get someone who’s had too much to drink and becomes an idiot for a split second, whether that means throwing a punch or getting into a car when over the limit.

“Pubwatch fosters public safety and supports the reduction and prevention of public disorder and nuisance, which is supported by everybody knowing what’s going on in their locality.”

Information is shared about emerging crime trends and safety campaigns such as Ask for Angela, where women who feel unsafe in a pub, club or bar can ‘ask for Angela’ to alert staff that they need to get away from a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.

Mr Bennett added: “Licensees can alert each other about disorderly customers and, of course, call the police if needed.

"They can also share guidance and information about what works, and what doesn’t, and promote their own premises.

“All of this means their customers can drink in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Although 12 members have signed up, Mr Bennett is keen to attract more.

He added: “As well as pubs, we want to hear from social clubs, sports clubs and private members’ clubs, restaurants and off-licences – anywhere there’s a licence.”

Becky Gawn, owner of Shakers Bar in West Street, thinks Pubwatch will be good for the town.

She said: “We don’t have many problems here in Harwich but it’s good to bring publicans and the police closer together.

“We have regular visits from officers anyway and it’s good for our customers to know that police visit our bar.”

Monthly meetings have already started and a Pubwatch WhatsApp group has been formed.

Becky added: “It’s going to be good over Christmas.”

For more information, contact any Harwich pub landlord or email Essex Police licensing officer Steve Bennett at