A police-led initiative called Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI) which seeks to make licensed venues safer and more secure is highlighting a £5million Government Fund to help prevent violence against women at night.
Licensing SAVI seeks to improve the safety of staff and customers in bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres and sporting clubs. It was developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), which works alongside the Police Service around the UK to deter and reduce crime.
Backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Licensing SAVI brings together for the first time all the information that venues need to promote the four Licensing Objectives. These are Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm and Public Safety.
For a licence fee of £100 and conveniently available in an online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI provides definitive information on effective management practices and operational security as well as some practical examples, which some licensed premises may not have considered before.
Licensees that complete the self-assessment will receive a Star-Rating and can then apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation and an Award which can be displayed at their premises showing the efforts undertaken to enhance safety.
Licensing SAVI is well placed to promote the Government’s Safety of Women at Night Fund, which seeks to attract bids from Police and Crime Commissioners, the Chief Constable of British Transport Police, local authorities as well as charity, community and voluntary organisations to protect victims of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) or identify and target perpetrators of these crimes at night.
Bidders will be required to consult with local or national VAWG stakeholders as well as local organisations that hold responsibility for groups of women or girls within the geographical range of the bid, such as colleges, universities or local businesses. This is to ensure the proposals reflect the needs of women and girls. This underlines the need for bidders to work with relevant partners to design and deliver local plans in hotspot areas with the outcome of reducing violence against women and girls related crimes.
Bids up to a maximum value of £300,000 are invited by 1 September 2021 for location specific projects in towns and cities in England and Wales that ‘help women feel safer’ within evening and night-time economy venues as well as on related routes home in public spaces. Bids will be evaluated by the Home Office. Successful bids and grant agreements are due to be distributed in November 2021. All the funding must be spent by 31 March 2022.
Mark Morgan, Business Manager, Licensing SAVI, explained that whilst many offences happen in public spaces, research tells us that initial contact often happens in and around licensed premises.
“A venue’s use of Licensing SAVI will contribute to the safety of women at night by providing managers and staff with a greater awareness around identifying customers who may be vulnerable and at risk of harm. For example, it would help them understand what vulnerability is, how to identify it and what mitigating measures and reporting processes can be implemented to reduce vulnerability.
“Licensing SAVI focuses on the relationship between venues and problems within the night-time economy highlighting security and surveillance measures which will not only make a positive impact in venues but also upon safety in the wider geographical areas beyond venues.
“Our initiative signposts towards good practice on welfare arrangements such as dealing with the issue and not just moving it on as well as such measures as age verification, sensible drinking, notices about safe transport crime scene preservation.”
Mark added that Licensing SAVI includes crime prevention advice which can be used by door supervisors in a guardianship role, engaging with customers as they leave the premises and enter public areas helping them get a sense of when something is not right or people don’t seem right together. “This level of pro-active engagement may deter potential perpetrators.”
Licensing SAVI’s self-assessment can be used on a laptop, tablet or phone at any time of the day and is the ideal ‘one-stop-shop’ to undertake a health check, which could be timely because of the return to work of staff who have been on furlough and the recruitment of new staff to replace those who have left.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by certain crime types. For example, they are around four times more likely than men to experience a sexual assault. According to the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), 2.9% of women aged 16 to 74 and 0.7% of men aged 16 to 74 were victims of sexual assault in the last year. Women and girls have also been found to suffer high levels of sexual and verbal harassment. Examples include a survey by Plan UK in 2018 of 14-21-year-olds that found that 38% of girls experience verbal harassment including sexual comments in public places at least once a month.
A YouGov poll of adults in London in 2019 about experience of sexual harassment on public transport found that 37% of women had experienced someone ‘deliberately pressing against them’ compared to 12% of men, and 22% of women had a ‘sexual statement directed against them’ in comparison to 7% of men.
Women are also less likely to feel safe walking alone at night in their local area. According to data from the 2019/20 CSEW, 69% of women aged 16 and over said that they felt very or fairly safe walking alone after dark. For women aged 75 and over, that figure falls to 58%.
The tragic killing of Sarah Everard in March 2021 brought to the forefront concerns about women and girls’ safety in public places. Later the same month the Government announced immediate steps to protect women and girls in public spaces, including the rollout of initiatives to improve the safety of women in public spaces at night, including in the night-time economy.
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About Police CPI:
Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI) is a police-owned, not-for-profit organisation which delivers a wide range of innovative and ground-breaking crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives to support the UK Police Service, Government and the public. Senior police officers control and direct the work Police CPI carries out on behalf of the Police Service.
Police CPI and the Women’s Night Safety Charter:
As part of its commitment to providing safer and more secure bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres and sporting clubs through Licensing SAVI, Police CPI has signed up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter, which seeks to make London a place where women feel ‘confident and welcome’ at night. It means Police CPI will actively support the Charter’s seven pledges and encourage other businesses and organisations in the capital to join in to tackle violence against women. Visit: https://www.policecpi.com/news/227-police-cpi-sign-up-to-women-s-night-safety-charter
To undertake the Licensing SAVI self-assessment: