Licensed premises urged to ‘prepare to be safe’ as soccer season restarts with televised matches
aWith the Premier League football season kicking off in England on Friday, 13 August, licensed premises are being urged to put in place a number of safety measures to cope with an influx of supporters keen to follow their teams in televised matches and celebrate their successes.
The guidance and advice comes from a pioneering licensing initiative, 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.
It’s called Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI) and it seeks to improve the safety and security of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres and sporting clubs.
Licensing SAVI brings together for the first time all the information that licensees in England and Wales need to promote the four, all-important Licensing Objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm, and Public Safety.
Licensing SAVI is independent from the alcohol drinks industry and is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Project Servator, a police-led vigilance scheme to deter terrorist attacks at crowded places.
Available as an online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI brings together definitive information on effective management practices and operational security including some practical safety measures – many of which can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost and some which licensed premises may not have considered before. Importantly, completion of the self-assessment can lead to Accreditation and an Award with a Star-Rating for display to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety and security.
Mark Morgan, Business Manager for Licensing SAVI, and former Superintendent of Merseyside Police, said: “As we continue to see customers return to licensed premises with friends to watch their team play, it is timely for venue managers to review their operating practices to ensure they’ve done all they can to maximise the safety of their customers and staff. The Licensing SAVI self-assessment can be used on a lap-top, tablet or phone at any time of the day and is the ideal ‘one-stop shop’ to undertake such a health check.”
Mark encourages managers and staff to:
Prepare in advance: Planning is key and you can seek help from your local police and council licensing teams to problem solve reasonably anticipated risk. This will allow for appropriate support if necessary and for your venue to be included in response plans for the wider local area. This should also ensure you are able to adapt to other events nearby which could impact upon you. You should also:
- Check Premises Licence conditions to ensure plans are compliant, especially when considering using space differently such as outside areas which may not have been used before
- Submit Temporary Event Notices where necessary as early as possible
- Be aware of key match dates, particularly of teams in your area that have strong local support
- Respect customers who may still want to social distance and wear masks following the lifting of statutory COVID-19 restrictions
- On the most important match days for your venue, consider ticket-only access and whether you need the additional support of Security Industry Authority (SIA) registered Door Supervisors
- Review your policies and risk assessments to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Record changes to operating practices in risk assessments and audit trails.
Brief your staff: Your customers will be keen to socialise with people they may not have seen for some time during COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns - and during these times residents living nearby are likely to have become used to quieter streets whilst you were closed. Take the opportunity to remind staff of procedures and management practices, especially those who have returned after long periods of furlough and new staff who have been recruited to replace those who have left. Staff briefings are important and could include:
- Challenge 21/25 age-identification schemes to manage underage drinkers and remind staff it is an offence to serve a drunk person (or on behalf of drunk person)
- Emergency procedures, such as how to respond to alarms and the location of fire exits and the need to keep them uncongested; and to stop serving and call police in the event of any tension or disorder
- How to manage the number of customers to avoid exceeding venue capacity and how large numbers could influence departure in response to critical incidents
- Ensure nominated staff know how to use your CCTV system to ensure it is fully operational and are able to download footage
- Position TV match screens to avoid potential congestion, especially avoiding emergency exits
- Consider safe and controlled dispersal from your venue when matches finish
- Inform staff of the named Designated Premises Supervisor or appropriate manager
- Explain the different types of vulnerability and how vulnerable people can be supported, such as by contacting friends or family on their behalf, as opposed to asking them to leave a venue where they could then become at greater risk.
- Run sensible drinking promotions and make free water available
- Use polycarbonate or similar drinking vessels and decant any bottles to reduce risk of injury or harm, that could result from disorder
- Clear empty glasses and rubbish quickly and remove to secure storage
- Display numbers for reputable taxi companies, signposting to nearby transport hubs.
Terrorist threat: The terrorist threat is ‘substantial’ which means an attack is ‘likely’. Crowded places are particularly at risk. Managers and staff will need to be vigilant for anything out of the ordinary or that doesn’t feel right no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Call your local police on 101 or in an emergency 999.
The football season: The Premier League starts on Friday, 13 August with Brentford v Arsenal – an important fixture for Brentford, who are making a return to the top-flight after a 74-year absence and their first match in the Premier League since it was created in 1992. Other Premier League fixtures resume on Saturday, 14 and Sunday 15 August. Premier League fixtures can be found here: https://www.premierleague.com/news/2171434
The Championship starts the week before – on Friday 6 August with Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion, followed by full fixtures that weekend. League One and League Two start on Saturday, 7 August.
Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI)
To undertake the Licensing SAVI self-assessment:
For further guidance to licensees about how to keep their premises safe indoors and outdoors: