The City of Leeds, which has one of the largest evening and night-time economies in the UK, has joined a pioneering police-led initiative to improve the safety and security of licensed premises.
Leeds will pilot this scheme in conjunction with operators in the city centre across bars, pubs and clubs.
The City’s participation means the whole of West Yorkshire is now supporting the Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative, known as Licensing SAVI, with Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees signed up already.
Each of the five areas will be encouraging 60 licensed venues to take part – making a total of 300 venues in West Yorkshire – as the county leads the national roll out of the scheme throughout England and Wales.
Funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), it is being delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.
Licensing SAVI encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year on year using an online self-assessment, which includes all the police and council licensing information that venues need to meet statutory licensing requirements for safety and security. Venues can be awarded a star-rating and apply for Licensing SAVI accreditation.
It specifically covers drink spiking and injection incidents, which have made media headlines over the last few months as well as providing guidance around issues like responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers. It contains a female safety policy for venues to adapt for their own use. It also covers physical security, such as emergency exits, lighting and CCTV systems. Most measures included in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.
Licensing SAVI was developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), a not-for-profit police organisation, which works alongside the Police Service throughout the UK to deter and reduce crime.
The aim of the initiative is to provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers and local communities and to reduce the demand on Police Forces, NHS Ambulance Services and Accident & Emergency Departments.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for resources with responsibility for Safer Leeds said: “Leeds is proud of its prestigious Purple Flag status in Leeds city centre, which reflects the tremendous work being undertaken day-in, day-out by a range of partners to make the Leeds night-time economy more attractive, diverse and safe for all. The Licensing SAVI pilot is another opportunity to work with and encourage operators to further raise standards, so people can enjoy their experience, are safe and feel safe, and return.”
Director of West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh, said:
“Securing Leeds into this initiative, offers yet more momentum to our collective goal of increasing safety within West Yorkshire’s vibrant night-time economy.
“This now fully unified approach means that people enjoying our towns and cities, can do so in the knowledge that establishments are operating to a consistent and high standard.
“Particularly when it comes to the safety of women and girls, we know they are often disproportionately affected by crimes, such as spiking and sexual offences, and this approach delivers added reassurance that their welfare is paramount.”
Business Lead for Licensing SAVI, Mark Morgan, a former Police Superintendent, said: “I am thrilled and delighted that the City of Leeds has come on board. Leeds has a reputation for wanting to improve the vibrancy and safety of its evening and night-time economy. Licensing SAVI will complement all the city’s other initiatives to help its venues achieve higher standards of safety and security for the benefit of its staff and customers and build safer communities.”
YouGov research commissioned by Police CPI of 5,050 adults aged 18-45 in England between 16 August – 5 Sept 2021 were asked about safety in licensed premises with safety defined as ‘where efforts have been made to prevent crime, reduce harm and where staff will support you if you are feeling vulnerable’.
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 want safety improvements in nightclubs whilst 76% want improvements in bars and pubs. Support was greatest among women with 83% wanting improved safety in nightclubs and 81% of women in bars and pubs.
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 from England, Scotland and Wales control and direct the work Police CPI carries out on behalf of the Police Service. Visit: https://www.policecpi.com