Pub owners have backed a police drive to thwart booze-fuelled violence during the World Cup, which could see landlords hauled before licensing committees if they don’t take steps to prevent incidents.
‘The Ugly Consequences of the Beautiful Game’ campaign has been developed by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lancashire Constabulary and the Fire and Rescue Service to raise awareness of the consequences of domestic abuse, arson, drink-driving, alcohol-fuelled violence and cooking fires this summer.
Ronnie Fitzpatrick, chairman of Preston’s Licenced Victualler’s Association and landlord of the Dog and Partridge, said: “ We had letters about the campaign about the consequences to the pubs, and it’s fair enough.
“It’s now down to individual pubs to adhere to it. Some pubs are using plastic glasses.
“Everyone in the pub trade is trying to keep a lid on the risk of violence.
“It’s the last thing we want. We want it to pass peacefully and everyone to enjoy themselves.”
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Residents across the county will be coming together to watch the World Cup this summer, and it should be a time for fun and celebration.
“But unfortunately, experience tells us the tournament is also likely to be a time for excessive drinking – which can have devastating consequences. I hope residents will take notice of this campaign and think twice about their actions this summer. We are not trying to stop residents going out and enjoying themselves, but want to make sure that a criminal record or serious injury is not the unintended result of their night out.”
As part of the same campaign Preston North End, Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley have pledged to stand together against domestic abuse, after it was revealed reported incidents rose by around 25 per cent during England games at the 2010 World Cup.
Increases in crime and anti-social behaviour are most prevalent when England are knocked out of the tournament and after the final.
North West Ambulance Service recorded a 34 per cent increase in the number of assaults after England were knocked out in 2010.
Derek Cartwright, director of operations at North West Ambulance Service said: “In previous tournaments we have seen the combination of expectations, emotions, warm weather and alcohol consumption result in an increase in 999 calls for assaults.
“We urge people to think first, drink sensibly and remain aware of their actions so they can enjoy the matches in good spirit and avoid harm to themselves and others.”
The Fire Service is using the campaign to spread the message about the dangers of accidental fires in the home, which tend to increase throughout the tournament as a result of people forgetting they have cooked food after drinking, or failing to extinguish a cigarette.