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Restaurant customers’ top safety considerations: good hygiene and lighting, clearly marked fire exits and staff control over bad behaviour, reveals YouGov survey

More than one in two adults want improved safety measures in restaurants following recent national publicity around the safety of women and girls, a YouGov survey has found.

A total of 58% of adults want safety improvements in restaurants with the largest call for improved safety coming from women at 64% – 14 percentage points higher than men.

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’, 5,050 adults in England aged 18-45, were 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’.

The survey made comparisons with other types of licensed premises – nightclubs, bars and pubs, theatres, stadiums and arenas, hotels and guest houses, and sports and social clubs.

For example, 76% of adults responded saying they want improved safety in bars and pubs, and 79% in nightclubs. The call for safety improvements in the other licensed premises included in the survey ranged between 52-65% of adults.

The survey, carried out between 16 August – 5 September 2021, also found that adults feel significantly less safe across all types of licensed premises included in the survey today than they did prior to the first national lockdown in March 2020. For example, the largest falls in feeling safe were in nightclubs – down from 81% pre-pandemic to 48% today and bars and clubs from 93% to 64%.

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The type of licensed premises which enjoyed the smallest percentage drop pre-pandemic to today were restaurants. Pre-pandemic, restaurants were equal top with hotels and guest houses at 98% for feeling safe in licensed premises. Today, that feeling of safety has fallen to 81% for restaurants – a percentage drop of 17 points and the smallest drop of all types of licensed premises in the survey.

The survey also revealed that 25% of respondents would have visited restaurants more if they felt safer and 19% are more likely to have visited if it had been granted a Police Safety Award.

More adults consider a restaurant’s safety prior to visiting (18%) than check out the restaurant’s safety considerations once they have arrived (16%).

Top of the list of features that influences the perceived safety of a restaurant upon arrival is overall ‘cleanliness and hygiene’ with 60% of respondents choosing this option. Next are the premises being well-lit (45%) followed by clearly marked fire exits (39%) and control of any rowdy customers (35%).

These safety feature priorities are broadly the same once inside the restaurant. A total of 64% of respondents look out for cleanliness and hygiene as the most important consideration followed by checking the venue is well-lit (48%), ensuring fire exits are clearly marked (47%) and staff are controlling any rowdy behaviour (39%).

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The survey was commissioned by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), a police-owned organisation, which works alongside the Police Service to deter and reduce crime.

One of Police CPI’s latest initiatives is Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), which seeks to improve safety and security in licensed premises. Developed at the request of the Home Office, Licensing SAVI is being supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Project Servator, which seeks to deter terrorist attacks in public places.

Licensing SAVI brings together for the first time all the information that licensees need to meet the requirements of police and council licensing teams, comply with 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.

Available as an on-line self-assessment, it provides definitive information on effective management practices and operational security as well as some straightforward safety measures, many of which can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost. It leads to a star-rating and venues can apply for an award, which can be displayed at their premises showing the efforts undertaken to enhance safety and security.

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Licensing SAVI is the first ever National Policing Award in England and Wales and commenced its national roll out in October to 300 venues in West Yorkshire – a move that is being funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.

Mark Morgan, Business Manager for Licensing SAVI, and a former Police Superintendent, said: “There is a tremendous consistency in these results which show how important safety in licensed premises has become today for men and women – but particularly women.

“Clearly, adults who took part in this research feel safer in restaurants than they do in bars and nightclubs. However, safety is still an important and significant factor in restaurants with one in five respondents saying they would visit more if they felt safer and about the same number would like restaurants to have a Police Safety Award which would officially recognise that efforts have been taken to improve safety.”

Mark explained that Licensing SAVI enables licensed premises to carry out a health check on their venue and improve safety and security year on year. “This has got to be good for staff and customers – and good for business too. This is a clear requirement identified from the survey,” said Mark.


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About Police CPI
Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI) is a police-owned, not-for-profit organisation which delivers a wide range of innovative and ground-breaking crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives to support the UK Police Service, Government and the public. Senior police officers control and direct the work Police CPI carries out on behalf of the Police Service.

Women’s Night Safety Charter
In March 2021, as part of its commitment to providing safer and more secure venues through Licensing SAVI, Police CPI signed up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter, which seeks to make London a place where women feel ‘confident and welcome’ at night. It means Police CPI will actively support the Charter’s seven pledges and encourage other businesses and organisations in the capital to join in to tackle violence against women.