London’s iconic Royal Opera House demonstrates its ongoing commitment to customer safety, receiving 5-stars with a National Policing Award for Safety.
The Royal Opera House, located in the heart of London’s theatre district, achieved this accolade after successfully taking part in a pioneering, police-led initiative to improve the safety and security of its premises for the benefit of staff, customers, and local communities.
Available as an on-line self-assessment, Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI) brings together, for the first time, all the information that licensed premises need to comply with the requirements of local police and council licensing teams, achieve a star-rating and have the opportunity to apply for Licensing SAVI accreditation and an award.
The historic landmark, home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, was built in 1858 following a fire which destroyed the previous theatre building. The façade, foyer, and auditorium are original features with Grade I listing, but almost every other element of the current building dates from an extensive reconstruction which took place in the 1990s.
With the main auditorium seating 2,256 people, the Royal Opera House is the third largest in London and welcomes over one million people annually. The facility also extends opportunities through over 1,250 schools, community programmes and affordable performances for families, schools, students and more. As such, the venue is keen to implement measures which ensure the safety of all visitors, as well as their 1000-strong staff team.
Ian Brown, Head of Facilities at the Royal Opera House, said: "The safety of everyone who steps through our doors is our number one priority at the Royal Opera House, and we are delighted to have been recognised as a five-star venue in this regard. We look forward to safely welcoming thousands more people to our Covent Garden home in the months and years ahead.”
Licensing SAVI was developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), which works alongside the Police Service to deter and reduce crime. As well as provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers, and local communities, it also seeks to reduce demand on Police Forces, NHS Ambulance Services and Accident & Emergency Departments.
A YouGov survey of 5,050 adults aged 18-45 in England and Wales commissioned by Police CPI in September 2021 found that, in regard to theatres, 52% of adults 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’. This number was significantly lower for theatres than other types of licensed venue, including pubs, bars and nightclubs.
The survey also revealed that 20% of respondents would have visited theatres more if they felt safer and 19% are more likely to have visited if it had been granted a Police Safety Award.
Ian Shuttleworth, Licensing SAVI, said: “I am delighted to see such an iconic venue as the Royal Opera House being awarded with a 5* Police award for safety. This award shows to customers and staff how seriously Ian and the Team are committed to ensuring that their security, safety, and vulnerability are prioritised. I believe that it also shows how the Licensing SAVI online self-assessment is adaptable to different venue types and the Royal Opera House joins a growing list of venues across the country, in achieving the highest possible star rating. I wish to congratulate Ian and the Team on their achievement.”
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.
It also covers drink spiking, an issue which has hit national headlines recently with a number of victims from around the country reporting being assaulted with needles.
Most measures included in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.
The first police award of its kind, Licensing SAVI aims to support the licensing trade and is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Project Servator, a police-led vigilance scheme to deter terrorist attacks at crowded-places.
Royal Opera House
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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 control and direct the work Police CPI carries out on behalf of the Police Service.