Four major alcohol producers have pledged half a million pounds of funding for the Best Bar None awards scheme, which aims to tackle alcohol-related crime.
Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, Diageo, Heineken and Molson Coors' £500,000 contribution will guarantee the future of the scheme, which works with bars and pubs across England and Wales to promote responsible management.
The investment will fund Best Bar None's development over the next three years, which will fund the set-up of 20 new Best Bar None schemes across the country, especially in disadvantaged areas, along with strengthening existing schemes.
Meanwhile the drinks industry partners are working with the Government to include their commitment to Best Bar None as an additional pledge for the Responsibility Deal.
Best Bar None is a national award programme, which promotes responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises. It aims to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder in town centres across the country. In particular it provides a framework for training on enforcing proof of age policies, along with building relationships between the licensed trade, police and local authorities to reduce crime and improve safety. The programme is supported by the Home Office and British Institute of Innkeeping (BII).
There are now over 100 Best Bar None schemes in the UK, with around 3,600 venues taking part.
Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire said: "Best Bar None plays a vital role in tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder, by helping local businesses and authorities improve their areas. I fully support their work and encourage more businesses to get involved and work together with local communities to drive up standards and reduce alcohol-related crime.
"The Government is determined to tackle the harm caused by alcohol and has brought forward a comprehensive package of measures to address this, including an overhaul of the Licensing Act to strengthen the say of communities."
Lord Redesdale, chairman of the Best Bar None programme, said: "This strong strategic partnership and significant funding will take Best Bar None to the next level, ensuring a brighter future for the scheme. It will enable us to be bolder and more ambitious in scope and standards. The bottom line is that we will be able to develop our existing schemes and roll out Best Bar None across more areas of England and Wales, particularly in disadvantaged areas, like Barnsley, for example. This will enable us to make even greater progress in reducing the impact of alcohol-related crime and disorder."
By Neil Gerrard
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