Pioneering Initiative Improving Nightlife Safety Across West Yorkshire

15th October 2021

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A pioneering licensing initiative to improve the safety and security of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels has today (15/10) been launched across West Yorkshire.

It follows a recent YouGov poll in which 79% of adults agreed that ‘recent publicity around the safety of women and girls has made it more important for licensed premises to improve their safety procedures’.

Funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), it is being delivered in partnership with West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.

A total of 300 specially selected licensed premises across Bradford, Calderdale, Wakefield and Kirklees are being invited to take part in the scheme, which encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year on year.

It means West Yorkshire has become the first county in England and Wales to officially launch Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), which has been developed at the request of the Home Office in conjunction with Police CPI.

Its aim is to provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers and local communities and to reduce the demand on Police Forces, NHS Ambulance Services and Accident & Emergency Departments.

It offers an on-line self-assessment for licences premises, where they can be awarded a Star-Rating and apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation.

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.

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh, said:

“Given the unprecedented experience that the sector has endured over the past year or so, it is really important that we are able to support venues across the county in providing a safe environment to operate within.

“By funding this initiative and anticipating any potential issues, we can give premises the knowledge, security and confidence they require that will ultimately work to reduce the incidence of violent crime and associated issues.

“Particularly aside the backdrop of preventing violence against women and girls, as well as the kickstarting of the night-time economy, this partnership approach represents another step in the right direction.”

Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health for Bradford Council and Lead Public Health Director for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said:

“We are proud of the partnership between the VRU and all the joint work taking place.

“Providing a safe and secure environment for communities is a priority for us all. Giving local businesses good guidance to keep their premises safe and secure is one way we can help achieve this.”

Business Lead for Licensing SAVI, Mark Morgan, a former Police Superintendent, said:

“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.

“I look forward to supporting West Yorkshire with Licensing SAVI, which will contribute to safer licensed premises and reduced alcohol-related violence.”