Leeds to pilot new nightlife safety scheme with specific female safety policy for each bar

The scheme includes introducing a female safety policy in all participating bars and clubs.

A new nightlife safety scheme is being trialled in Leeds and across West Yorkshire.

The police-led initiative aims to improve the safety and security of licences premises across the UK and aims to be rolled out across the country if the pilot is successful.

The initiative includes a female safety policy and improving operational security and management practices year-on-year and comes just two weeks after Leeds City Council introduced a female safety bus to aid nighttime safety in the city centre.

Read More: New Women’s Night Bus to offer safe space on nights out in Leeds

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 already signed up.

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.

The Licensing SAVI initiative 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.

Image: Michael Discenz, Unsplash

The initiative covers drink spiking and injection incidents, as well as providing guidance around issues like responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers.

It also contains a female safety policy for venues to adapt for their own use, as well as physical security, such as emergency exits, lighting and CCTV systems. It is believed that most measures included in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.

The aim of the initiative is to provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers and local communities, whilst reducing the demand on Police Forces, NHS Ambulance Services and Accident and Emergency Departments. The scheme itself 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.

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.  

“We know that sometimes people, and in particular women and girls, can feel unsafe in the city at night and so we are determined to do all we can to tackle that.

“The Licensing SAVI pilot is another opportunity to work with and encourage operators to further raise standards, so people enjoy their experience, are safe and feel safe, and return.”

Image: Long Truong, Unsplash

Read More: Leeds students have created a drink spiking report to raise awareness for safety on nights out

The scheme comes after a YouGov poll found a total of 79% of adults agreed that they want safety improvements in nightclubs whilst 76% want improvements in bars and pubs. Support for this was greatest among women with 83% wanting improved safety in nightclubs and 81% of women in bars and pubs.

More information about the Licensing SAVI initiative can be found on their website.

Feature Image- Abbie Hartley, Unsplash

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