VIOLENT crime has been halved since the introduction of a ‘pub watch’ scheme in two town centres.

Since the Barnoldswick and Earby Pub Watch was expanded in 2005, incidents of violent crime have fallen from 217 to 112.

There are also 46 people currently banned under the scheme, 12 on lifetime bans, either for drunkenness, violence of drugs.

Community beat manager Brendan Wood said the scheme had been a huge success.

“It has gone from strength to strength, with every licensed premises in West Craven now a Pub Watch member,” he said.

“This includes off-licences which I think is unique, certainly within the Pennine policing area. Not all violent crime takes place on licensed premises, however. We know from experience that a significant amount is alcohol related and happens in or around pubs and clubs.”

The scheme involves the display of posters and stickers in participating premises and the promise to ban anyone who fails to behave to agreed standards.

PC Wood said: “We believe the Pub Watch scheme and the firm action we are taking is one reason why local police and partners have been so successful in reducing violent crime in Barnoldswick and Earby.”

Mick Armfield, licensing enforcement officer for Pendle, said: “The members of Barnoldswick and Earby Pub Watch scheme have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they are more than willing to go the extra mile to ensure customers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable night out.”

Members of the scheme are now set to join forces with the national Pub Watch group.

Coun David Whipp, chairman of Pendle Community Safety Partnership, said: “In partnership with the Home Office, we’re providing funding which will mean local Pub Watch members can join the national scheme.

“Most landlords work extremely hard to ensure that residents can enjoy a night out and this will support their efforts.”