A NEW tsar to oversee Southampton’s bars, pubs and clubs is expected to start work next month, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The night time economy manager is being brought in to make the city safer for people on a night out in a bid to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

The new role, which is initially funded by up to £30,000 from the Home Office, is being launched after a big rise in crime and complaints to the council, which has seen this year’s influx of students blamed for a rise of disorder during the week.

Both police and the city council say competition between licensed venues offering cheap or free drinks has led to a rise in trouble in the Bedford Place area.

Chief Inspector Alison Scott said the new manager would need the support of the city’s pubs, clubs and bars to solve problems of binge drinking and alcohol fuelled crime.

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“It is something that has worked well in other areas and that the Home Office recommends. We have worked out a plan with the Home Office and this will bring everyone together to make nights out safer and reduce crime.”

The new tsar will be expected to have weekly meetings with door staff and visit licensed premises to discover problem areas and address any incidents or concerns.

They will also oversee the Daily Echo-backed Best Bar None annual award scheme, and a new “yellow card” system which could see out-of-control drinkers banned from all city centre venues the moment they are barred from one pub or bar.

“It could effectively ban them from the city centre if they cause trouble. But it will all need the support of the licensed premises to succeed,” she said.

The new NTE manager is due to start work on December 7 with the £26,000-salary funded by the Home Office until April, when the cost will be split between the council, police and the Safe City Partnership.

They will be based at non-for-profit company Streets Ahead in Bugle Street.

Councillor Royston Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic development, said: “Southampton has a vibrant night time economy, which we should celebrate.

“Night time economy managers operate in a few cities in the country and have shown to be highly successful.

“The role involves working with the city’s night time businesses and coming up with a range of new initiatives to help improve safety, while at the same time, working proactively to promote the city’s excellent night life.”