June 3, 2022 8.00 am This story is over 23 months old

Lincoln joins national effort to make pubs and clubs safer

New licensing initiative after poll shows post-COVID safety fears

By Local Democracy Reporter

A new pioneering licensing initiative for the nightlife sector has been announced in Lincoln, in a bid to help people feel safer in bars, pubs and clubs.

Venues across Lincoln will take part in the Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (SAVI), which has been supported by Lincoln BIG and developed at the request of the Home Office by police-owned organisation the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (CPI).

It encourages licensed premises to improve operational security and management practices year on year, and a number of venues have already signed up – with more expected to join in the coming months.

The plan for Licensing SAVI was introduced to local venues by Lincolnshire Police’s Licensing Sergeant, Ian Cotton, who says he hopes the scheme can raise awareness and standards for people living in and visiting Lincoln.

It is aiming to reduce the demand on emergency services, as well as providing safer venues for managers, staff and customers alike.

Licensing SAVI measures can be introduced quickly at little to no cost, and it focuses on critical issues such as responsible drinking, drug misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers.

It provides consistent standards, advice and guidelines for licensed premises to follow, ensuring they promote the four objectives: prevention of public nuisance, prevention of crime and disorder, protection of children from harm, and public safety.

A non-assessed guidance section on counter terrorism and a COVID-19 risk assessment template are also available, and licensees that complete the self-assessment will receive a star rating – allowing for application for Licensing SAVI accreditation and an award to display in the premises.

Councillor Sue Burke, portfolio holder for reducing inequality at City of Lincoln Council said: “We continue to work with partners to both deliver and support initiatives in our pubs, clubs and restaurants.

“Building on the safety and security of these venues in the city for visitors and residents is of upmost importance.”

The move comes following research from Police CPI, commissioned by YouGov in autumn last year, in which 5,050 adults aged 18-45 were asked about safety in licensed premises.

The survey found adults felt significantly less safe today than they did prior to the first COVID-19 national lockdown, with the fall in feeling safe being largest in nightclubs – down from 81% pre-pandemic to 48% today.

The scheme is being initially funded by Lincoln Business Improvement Group, as operations manager Lee Roberts explains: “Lincoln BIG are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to our licensed venues, to help them to improve the safety and security of their venue and receive an award and to be recognised for this.

“We want to support our venues across the Lincoln BIG area and to continue to provide the message to the public that when they visit the city, they can feel and be safe while enjoying all that Lincoln has to offer.”