Telford & Wrekin Council is the first in West Mercia to encourage pubs and clubs to sign up to a night-time safety scheme which could see them awarded a five-star rating.
Like the food hygiene scores, the Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), scores licensed venues on how safe they are for customers and staff. It’s hoped the police-led scheme will give customers confidence when visiting night spots and boost business at those that receive five stars.
Through funding from the council’s Safer and Stronger Communities project, about 65 licensed venues will receive the first year’s membership free. Premises already registered include Albert’s Shed in Southwater which hosted an event for licensees to find out more about Licensing SAVI.
David Gregg, operations manager at the live music venue said:
“Licensing SAVI brings together all the things licensees should be doing to be compliant and puts it all in one place to make it easy to make our venues as safe as possible. It’s brilliant that Telford & Wrekin Council is funding us for the first year.
“Safety is paramount because we want people to enjoy themselves on a night out. It’s also important for our staff to feel safe and the training will help them spot potential issues.”
This could include drink spiking, for example, and Licensing SAVI gives specific advice on reducing the risk.
Vicki Ridgewell, exploitation and vulnerability trainer from West Mercia Police said:
“Licensing SAVI gives licensees the tools to recognise vulnerability and understand Ask for Angela and Ask for Clive. If someone has been spiked staff will know what action to take to look after that person and help secure a police prosecution.”
Telford & Wrekin Council, in partnership with West Mercia Police, is taking a lead when it comes to helping people feel safe while visiting night-time venues. Encouraging sign up to Licensing SAVI is part of a wider programme to tackle violence against women and girls.
Councillor Paul Watling, cabinet member for Safer and Stronger communities said:
“Licensing SAVI is a great opportunity for licensees to show they take safety and vulnerability seriously.
“When premises apply to Licensing SAVI, officers from our night-time economy team and West Mercia Police will visit them first and only then will they be accredited with a star rating. We will work with venues to help them achieve the top rating.
“We want people to enjoy a great night out in Telford and Wrekin and feel reassured that the place they are visiting has taken all the steps it can to be safe, secure and welcoming.”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said:
“This new scheme is another step towards tackling crimes, such as violence against women and girls, that can be associated with the night-time economy.
“It will work to improve venues, educate those that work there and challenge unacceptable behaviour, resulting in more people feeling safe.”
Available as an online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI helps licensees identify areas of improvement. They will then be scored and can display their star rating to show customers they are a safe place to visit.
Ian Shuttleworth, development officer from Licensing SAVI said:
“Licensing SAVI is aimed at reducing crime and raising standards by increasing knowledge and was developed following discussions with the Home Office.
“Having a national, police-approved award for safety will attract customers to your venue. The Licensing SAVI logo tells people that your venue will look after them.
“If we see lots of venues in Telford and Wrekin signing up for Licensing SAVI, what you’re saying is come here for a night out, it’s a safe area.”
For more information about Licensing SAVI, please visit licensingsavi.com
Photo: Trevor Davies and Carl Phillips from Telford & Wrekin Council, Ian Shuttleworth, development officer from Licensing SAVI, David Gregg, operations manager at Albert's Shed and Sharon Major from West Mercia Police