Swindon Borough Council has demonstrated its commitment to safety and security with the launch of a pioneering licensing initiative aimed at bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, and hotels.
Supporting the hospitality industry, the Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI) is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Project Servator, a police-led vigilance scheme to deter terrorist attacks at crowded places. Its aim is to provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers and local communities and to reduce the demand on hard-pressed police forces and NHS Ambulance Services and Accident and Emergency Departments.
Swindon Borough Council funded the first year of Licensing SAVI for venues as part of a wider Safety and Vulnerability Charter in the borough, which also included a working partnership with Safer Business Network to deliver training on schemes such as Ask for Angela and Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement (WAVE). The overarching strategy is a partnership approach to improving safety and the feeling of safety in the night-time economy in Swindon, between Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Police, The Police Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire & Swindon, Licensing SAVI, Safer Business Network and, most importantly, the licensed venues themselves.
Ian Shuttleworth, Licensing SAVI, and Daniel Weir, Manager of Tree Nightclub, displaying the venue's recently achieved accreditation
John Barker, Wiltshire Police, said: “As Swindon Police Licensing Officer in Wiltshire, I have had the pleasure of working alongside the police-approved Licensing SAVI team and the hard-working Swindon licensees. I have seen first-hand the benefits of Licensing SAVI, notably for the Swindon night-time economy venues, with an increasing number having signed up and now receiving high-rated Licensing SAVI accreditation. This includes real practical benefits for both the staff and the public. It is a straight-forward, comprehensive, effective and warmly welcomed tool for venues to help them maximise their safety for both staff and the public.
“The busy but relatively peaceful recent football World Cup and Christmas/New Year periods in Swindon are testament to this. It is a great example of partnership working to help reduce and prevent crime and disorder, thereby reassuring the public and boosting public confidence. Licensing SAVI not only helps keep people safer but also makes people feel safer.”
Ian Shuttleworth, Licensing SAVI, presents the award to staff at the Kings Arms
Available to licensees as an on-line self-assessment, Licensing SAVI covers critical issues like responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers through to preventing opportunist theft and improving physical security, such as lighting and CCTV systems. Most measures included in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.
Licensing SAVI provides consistent standards, guidance and advice that licensed premises in England and Wales need to meet the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 and promote the four Licensing Objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance; Prevention of Crime and Disorder; Protection of Children from Harm; and Public Safety. Licensing SAVI also includes a non-assessed guidance section on counter terrorism.
Licensees that complete the self-assessment will receive a Star-Rating and can apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation and an award for display to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety.
Ian Shuttleworth, Licensing SAVI, presenting the award to Fiesta de Cuba Manager, Tom Steele
Justin Britchford, owner of entertainment venue MECA and Chair of Swindon Pubwatch, said: “Licensing SAVI has been a great tool to help us focus on some of the finer points on making the venue safer and more appealing. It’s also a great opportunity for the town to get some positive press on how to make it a safer environment to go out in.”
YouGov research commissioned by Police CPI found that adults feel significantly less safe in licensed premises today than they did prior to the first national lockdown in March 2020. The fall in feeling safe was largest in nightclubs – down from 81% pre-pandemic to 48% today and bars and pubs from 93% to 64%.
Asked whether they agreed with the statement that ‘recent publicity around the safety of women and girls has made it more important for licensed premises to improve their safety procedures’, a total of 79% of adults agreed that they want safety improvements in nightclubs whilst 76% want improvements in bars and pubs. Support was greatest among women. In nightclubs, 83% of women want improved safety compared to 75% of men. In bars and pubs, the percentage point difference was greater with 81% of women wanting safety improvements compared to 70% of men.
Councillor Steve Heyes, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Health Inequalities, commented on the initiative and partnership working: “We need to do all we can to ensure that everyone, especially women and girls, feel safe at night, whether they are working, travelling or enjoying a great night out here in Swindon.
“The council, working with our partners, is committed to making our night-time economy as safe as possible and the training we have provided to licensed premises is an important step in helping to achieve this aim. I’d like to thank all the businesses who have taken part in the training so far and would encourage any other businesses who would like to find out more about the training opportunities to get in touch with us.”
A large number of licensed premises in the borough have already signed up to complete the Licensing SAVI assessment, with more receiving accreditation each week, including the following:
Ian Shuttleworth, Licensing SAVI, commented: “I was hugely impressed during my recent visit to Swindon with the enthusiasm of the venue managers in completing their Licensing SAVI assessments and their desire to implement the advice and guidance contained within their bespoke reports, in order to achieve as high a star rating as possible.
“I was accompanied by John Barker from Wiltshire Police Licensing Team, and it was clear to see that there was a real appreciation from the venue managers and owners of the partnership approach to the night-time economy in Swindon and to the improvements made over the last 12 months. They informed us that they are now seeing more visible Police patrols and that the introduction of the Licensing SAVI and Ask for Angela schemes have been of great benefit. I congratulate these recently accredited venues and eagerly await more venues completing their assessments in the very near future, and I look forward to visiting Swindon again soon.”
Contact: Licensing SAVI