One of York’s longest-serving pub landlords has called for more robust policing in the city centre, amid widespread concerns about weekend disorder.
Shaun Collinge, of The Maltings in Tanner’s Moat, says large groups visiting the city are deterring local families from going into town at the weekend.
He said more visible and stricter policing could lead to York gaining a reputation for not tolerating aggression, abuse or disorder.
Shaun, who has run the pub since 1992, said that on Saturday evenings, crowds heading over Lendal Bridge towards the station resembled “a tidal wave of filthy behaviour”, and said the problems began early in the day at weekends.
Too many people are getting off trains into York already half drunk, then you have a lot of people who are bringing their own alcohol and trying to add it to their drinks in pubs.
We deal with a lot of the issue at the front door and turn a lot of groups away, but sometimes people come in and then you realise you need to micro-manage them, not to upset other customers.
What’s the answer? It’s a societal problem, not just a York issue, and the officers will probably hate me for saying this, but I would like more robust policing on the streets in the city centre.
I know they have dispersal orders, but what actually happens?
Saturated with bars
Shaun, who with wife Max has seen The Maltings win almost every pub award going, said there were now too many bars in York.
“We are fuelling our own problem by constantly granting licenses to any Tom, Dick or Harry,” he told YorkMix.
“The city centre is saturated now with bars, and the big major national operators are not interested in York as a city, they just see it as a cash cow and want to be part of it.
“It’s different when you have independent little café bars opening up, but what do the big companies bring that we don’t already have?”
The licensing regime has changed considerably since Shaun first opened The Maltings.
“Back when Alf Peacock as licensing magistrate and Arthur Swain was at the police, they robustly protected the city centre,” he said.
“But licensing laws have changed and it’s different now. We have the Cumulative Impact Zone, but has it had any impact? We should want to get to a point where people think ‘if you go to York and you misbehave, you get locked up’.”
It’s not an issue about numbers of people, because when you have things like Pride on, town is rammed but it’s full of people being nice.
The issue is about behaviour of people visiting the city. Our door staff routinely deal with people who have had too much and are aggressive, and get upset when we say they can’t come in here.
I’ve been here 27 years and I still wait for the day someone phones on a Sunday to apologise for their behaviour, but it hasn’t happened.
“We welcome anyone who wishes to come and enjoy our beautiful city and hospitality responsibly and will act against those who abuse it. Working with partners we will continue to promote the message that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
“Operation Erase is a multi-agency response to late afternoon/early evening, alcohol related anti-social behaviour (ASB) at weekends. This includes our Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers, the British Transport Police, York’s BID rangers and the police.
“Together we carry out regular high visibility patrols, implement temporary ticket barriers at York station and use our respective powers to engage with anyone behaving inappropriately, encourage them to stop or ultimately issue them with a direction to leave.
“Licensees have also signed up to a code of conduct and the majority do not allow large groups into their premises. As a result of this work, most of the time we receive very few complaints from members of the public and issues that are highlighted to us, typically with the majority coinciding with multiple events taking place in the city centre, which increases the number of large and visible groups.
“Other initiatives include the Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ), and use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) banning the consumption of alcohol in locations where ASB levels have increased.
“These are aimed at everyone in the city, whether residents or visitors, as part of a multi-agency response to tackle anti-social behaviour. The number of recorded incidents of ASB in the CIZ has reduced from 1,399 in 2016/17 to 999 in 2018/19.
“However, due to the compact nature of the city and the close proximity of residential, licensed and retail premises, issues can appear more noticeable.
“York remains one of the safest cities in the UK and York continues to be a wonderful place to work, live and socialise.
“We will continue to work with partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors to tackle anti-social behaviour and explore any further measures that can be taken to improve the situation and ensure the city remains a great place to visit for everyone.”
She urged anyone who experiences anti-social behaviour to report it to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.