Hertfordshire Constabulary, jointly with East Herts Council, are pleased to announce the launch of a pioneering licensing initiative to improve the safety and security of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels.
Initially, a number of licensed venues across East Herts are being invited to take part in the scheme, which encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year on year. The scheme will roll out county-wide in the coming months.
Local officers from Herts police and Hertfordshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, Matt Nicholls, along with East Herts Council, the East Herts Community Safety Partnership and District Councillors for Hertford, Ware and Bishop’s Stortford are working in partnership to officially launch Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), which has been developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), a police-owned organisation, which works alongside the Police Service around the UK to deter and reduce crime.
Supporting the alcohol drinks industry, 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 & Emergency departments.
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, for the first time, 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 includes a non-assessed guidance section on counter terrorism and a COVID-19 risk assessment template for licensees to use if they wish.
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.
Its launch is timely because it can become part of a venue’s business recovery planning and as a refresher resource for the return of staff who have been furloughed and the recruitment and training of new staff to replace those who have left.
YouGov research commissioned by Police CPI of 5,050 adults aged 18-45 in England between 16 August – 5 September 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’.
The survey 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.
The initiative is being part funded by the Safer Neighbourhood Initiative Fund, giving premises the opportunity to join the scheme at a reduced cost as part of the roll out. The fund is available to support projects that help reduce neighbourhood crime, make local areas safer and reduce demand on police forces.
Assistant Chief Constable Matt Nicholls said: “Everyone has the right to enjoy a night out without fearing for their safety in any way and partnership working is key to ensuring this is the case.
“The Constabulary has been working alongside its partner agencies to tackle issues related to the night time economy, with a particular focus on violence against women and girls. We understand there is currently a lot of public concern around the issue and we’re working to better understand these concerns and create the right solutions. This initiative is just one of the measures we’re putting in place and I look forward to seeing the LSAVI scheme being rolled out across the county in the coming months.”
Sergeant Clare Ramirez, from the East Herts Community Safety Unit said: “Licensing SAVI forms part of the wider work we are doing to keep people safe while out enjoying the night time economy. The initiative will help to guide and support licensed premises to do everything possible to ensure this is the case.
“Having everything pulled together in this way makes it easier for premises to cover all the key areas while also getting advice and guidance. My team will quality assure the information provided to gain the ratings, so that the public can have confidence in the process.
“East Herts is the first area of the county to adopt Licensing SAVI, but this is something that we hope to introduce across Hertfordshire in the coming months.
“Funding has been secured to assist with the cost to premises, in what has been a difficult two years for the industry.”
Business Lead for Licensing SAVI, Mark Morgan, a former Police Superintendent, said: “We were delighted to be at the launch and witness the great enthusiasm from local venues and stakeholders in Hertfordshire, where it was clear that they took the safety of customers and staff, and security of licensed premises, seriously. We look forward to supporting the excellent work already taking place and accrediting venues soon.”
Licensing SAVI’s Mark Morgan gave a presentation to venues from Hertford, Ware and Bishop’s Stortford on Monday 28th February, with a number having since signed up to the initiative and begun the detailed assessment. Premises represented at the presentation were:
Hertford - Popworld, Cinnabar, Corn Exchange, Blackbirds, Six Templars, White Hart, Jungle Bar and Lord Haig.
Ware - The Brewery Tap, The Angel, Rifle Volunteer, Jacoby’s, The Mexican, The Mixer, and Southern Malthings.