Following the successful launch of Licensing SAVI in February 2022, Wigan venues continue to demonstrate their commitment to safety by taking part in the accreditation process.
Earlier this year, Wigan Council was successful in securing funding from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) Grant Funding, which makes £5m available for initiatives to combat violence against women and girls across England and Wales. There are currently over 80 venues in Wigan Borough already signed up to the initiative, with more joining every day.
In addition to making Licensing SAVI available to venues in the town, Wigan Council have also been allocating the funding to train venue managers and staff to increase their skills, knowledge, and confidence to identify vulnerable customers and make interventions to keep them safe. As part of this, venues have been introducing the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign, which encourages customers to use Angela as a code word to inform a member of staff that they need help.
Michael Pagett, owner of the accredited Reef Bar, explained: “The accreditation aids us in conveying the message to customers that we are a safe place to visit and that Wigan Town Centre as a whole is a safe and friendly environment.”
Licensing SAVI encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year on year using an online self-assessment, which for the first time, contains all the information that venues need to meet police and council statutory requirements for safety and security.
It can lead to venues being awarded a Licensing SAVI star-rating for display to show the efforts taken to improve safety and security.
Cafe Stella, a popular bar located in Leigh Town Centre, are another venue to successfully complete the accreditation. Owner Zoe Grundy explained: “We at Cafe Stella are committed to making a safer environment for our customers and staff, and we are continually learning and bettering ourselves as long-standing licensees in the town centre.
“We want Leigh town centre to be a safe night out for our customers and a safe working environment for our staff,” she continued. “With the venues all working together alongside the licensing team and police, as well as taking part in accreditations such as Licencing SAVI, we are confident it will help us towards achieving our goal."
Zoe went on to discuss how safety processes, such as having qualified Door Supervisors, metal detectors, effective bag checks, implementation of Challenge 21, risk assessments, multiple first aiders, spike testing kits, drink covers and bottle toppers and staff trained in Ask for Angela, all add up and cover a wide range of different aspects of safety that Cafe Stella covers.
“During the assessment process, it was interesting to see how much we already implement and to see other areas where we could potentially improve. Having the accreditation will hopefully highlight that my venue, along with the others that have come together to take part, care about everyone’s safety and that we are trying to help make the local community a safer place. In my eyes, we have a responsibility to the people that visit our venue and the town’s nightlife to make it the safest possible environment it can be.
Peter Ashton of the Hindley Arms discussed how having the accreditation demonstrates to customers and staff that their safety is a priority and that they can feel safe in the venue at all times. Mr Ashton went on to explain that this includes vulnerable women on a night out, with all of his staff knowing how to respond to ‘Ask for Angela’ support requests due to Licensing SAVI and Ask for Angela Campaign training.
Shelley Wright, Licensee of the Swan and Railway and secretary of Pubwatch Wigan, discusses the Licensing SAVI process and how she feels it will benefit Wigan venues.
As well as providing safer and more secure venues, Licensing SAVI also seeks to reduce the demand on Police Forces, NHS Ambulance Services and Accident & Emergency Departments. Licensing SAVI is supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Project Servator, a police anti-terrorism initiative.
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, Stephen Watson QPM, commented on the roll out: “I am very pleased to see the establishment of the Wigan Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative, as part of Home Office funding to protect and safeguard women and girls.
“The Wigan Partnership has worked with Police CPI to design and implement a programme to keep visitors and customers safe in licensed premises, to train door staff and managers and work collectively to improve licensed premises across Wigan for the safety and enjoyment of all.
“I congratulate Wigan and Police CPI for leading the way with this project, and I am encouraging other towns and districts across Greater Manchester to adopt a similar approach.”
Joanne Brockley, Licensing Manager at Wigan Council, added: “Wigan Council is really pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity to our licensed venues and help them to improve the safety and security of their venue and receive an award for this.
“We want to support venues across the borough and ultimately provide reassurance to the public that they can visit the town and feel and be safe.
“We are looking forward to working with Police CPI on this and seeing high star ratings displayed at premises across the borough.”
Licensing SAVI has been 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 self-assessment covers effective management practices and operational security, including critical issues like responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers as well as preventing opportunist theft and improving physical security, such as emergency exits, lighting, and CCTV systems.
In addition, it offers advice and guidance on drink spiking and injection incidents, which have made media headlines in the past year, and contains a female safety policy for venues to adapt for their own use. Most measures included in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.
Lisa Langton of Wigan Pubs explained why many their venues decided to undergo the assessment: “We choose to take part as it’s an excellent initiative; sadly, we have to deal with delicate situations on a regular basis and must protect our staff and customers the best we can, and the advice from Licensing SAVI helps us to focus on what’s important.
“The accreditation is a good positive attribute to have at our venue - we are not just a business, we are a public space, somewhere to relax and take time out, and having the accreditation shows we care. Safety is everything, and without it our customers wouldn’t be able relax and feel safe in our venues, and our staff turnover would be high as nobody would want to work in a careless environment.”
All the venues under the Wigan Pubs group - Little Fifteen, The Raven, Indiependence, Harry’s Bar, The Royal Oak, Fifteen Swinley, Fifteen Pemberton and Fifteen Standish have completed their self-assessment, achieving 5 star ratings.
Licensing SAVI goes a long way to help venues meet the four Licensing Objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm, and Public Safety.
YouGov research commissioned by Police CPI of 5,050 adults aged 18-45 and published in September 2021 found that:
79% of adults think it is important to improve safety in nightclubs
76% of adults think it is important to improve safety in bars and pubs
Of these, support was greatest among women with 83% wanting improved safety in nightclubs and 81% in bars and pubs
25% of adults would be more likely to visit a bar/pub more if it had a Police Safety Award.
Licensing SAVI Business Manager, Mark Morgan, said: “It has been excellent working with the local police and council licensing teams in Wigan, and especially those who run the licensed premises, to support them in being as safe as possible for all. We’ve had very positive feedback and it’s great that those managing and working in venues are embracing advice to maximise the safety of women in line with SWAN funding from the Home Office. It’s really pleasing to see the community spirit locally across Wigan, Standish, Leigh, and the surrounding areas, where there is a clear drive to be as safe an area as possible. Well done to those accredited so far and we will continue to work hard supporting you.”
Contact: Licensing SAVI