Northamptonshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (NPFCC) Stephen Mold has announced that he wants bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants across the county to support a pioneering police-led licensing initiative to make their venues safer and more secure for the benefit of customers, staff and local communities.
The Commissioner sees the Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), which is the first ever National Policing Award for safety and security, as a major part of his strategy to tackle violence against women and girls.
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.
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.
Northamptonshire Commissioner Stephen Mold said his five-year crime plan (2021-26) includes seeking to protect those who are most vulnerable – an objective that has received added importance by the recent national campaign to prevent violence against women and girls.
“I want to encourage as many licensed premises as possible to give themselves a health check and take the Licensing SAVI assessment. My ambition is for every licensee right across the county to take part and show their customers that they take safety seriously.
“I welcome initiatives and measures that can help women be safer and feel more comfortable and ultimately create an atmosphere where everyone feels confident and reassured.”
He added: “By supporting the licensing sector and working in partnership with venues around the county, we can provide safer and more secure places. As Commissioner, I am committed to doing everything practical I can to make women and girls safer.”
By working closely with councils and other community safety organisations, the Commissioner’s Office has been involved in supporting bids for Home Office grant funding to achieve safer streets and increased neighbourhood safety. This funding includes the Home Office’s £5m Safety of Women at Night (SWAN) initiative, which seeks to reduce incidents and the fear of violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, including the night-time economy.
Through its success in securing funding, the Commissioner’s Office is making Licensing SAVI available to each venue that takes part at a cost of just £4.50 to cover the cost of posting and packaging of certificates and marketing materials.
The Commissioner’s Office is also working with partner organisations to run campaigns on personal safety, bystander awareness and on encouraging the conversation about respectful behaviour towards women.
Cllr David Smith, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services, said: “We’re currently working with the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner on a wider promotional campaign around women’s safety and the fact that every one of us has responsibility for it.
“A key thing we’d like everyone to think about is whether they are doing anything to make someone feel uncomfortable, at risk or threatened and if so, to stop doing it.
“Even something that might seem like an innocent comment at the time can have a deeply negative impact, leaving the target feeling vulnerable and this can build up over time.
“We’re also looking at ways in which anyone can safely offer support to victims of inappropriate verbal or physical contact.”
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 over the last few months 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.
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: “We are thrilled and delighted that Northamptonshire Commissioner Stephen Mold has shown tremendous enthusiasm for Licensing SAVI and recognises the huge potential it has to make people safer in licensed premises.
“Venues can quickly gain a reputation through word of mouth in local communities and we are sure Licensing SAVI can help make them become known as safe places and enjoy all the resultant benefits of customer loyalty and increased business,” added Morgan.
For more information, visit: licensingsavi.com/