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The Security Event learns how a national police-led licensing initiative can improve safety in bars, pubs and clubs

There is growing evidence that the best way to keep bars, pubs and clubs safe for staff and customers is to bring together key organisations such as licensees, venue managers, the police and local authorities in a way that they can share their expertise.

This was the message today (Tuesday, 7 September) at The Security Event in Birmingham in a presentation by former Merseyside Police Superintendent Mark Morgan, who is the business manager for the new, police-led initiative called Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI).

The initiative seeks to improve the safety and security of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres and sporting clubs.

It was developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), a not-for-profit organisation that works alongside the Police Service to deter and reduce crime and build safer communities. Licensing SAVI evolved following significant input from UK government security experts and licensing professionals.

Licensing SAVI brings together for the first time the most comprehensive, single source of 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.

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Mark told a meeting of security market leaders and industry experts that academic research shows that one fifth of all violence in England and Wales occurs in or around bars or nightclubs.

He said it is recognised that the competing interests of organisations seeking to promote responsible drinking and reduce crime whilst balancing the needs and being supportive to the alcohol industry – or put simply: providing ‘fun environments’ at ‘places where alcohol is sold’ – are complex and challenging.

However, Mark went on to tell his audience at The Security Event, which runs from 7-9 September at the NEC, Birmingham, that the most effective initiatives are multi-component programmes. These can deliver many significant benefits, such as reduce assaults and underage sales of alcohol.

“There is growing evidence that effective delivery of multi-component programmes in drinking environments can reduce alcohol-related harm and consequently costs to health services, criminal justice agencies and a range of other public services,” explained Mark. “I am confident there is room for us as a new product to co-exist and complement existing work – indeed, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate.”

Licensing SAVI provides definitive information on effective management practices and operational security as well as some practical safety measures, many of which can be introduced quickly and a little or no cost, which some licensed premises may not have considered before.

For a licence fee of £100, Licensing SAVI is an online self-assessment, which can be accessed on a laptop, tablet or phone at any time of the day and is the ideal ‘one-stop-shop’ to undertake a venue health check, which could be timely because of the return to work of staff who have been on furlough and the recruitment of new staff to replace those who have left.

Licensees that complete the self-assessment will receive a Star Rating and can then apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation and an Award which can be displayed at their premises showing the efforts undertaken to enhance safety and security.

Licensing SAVI is independent from the alcohol drinks industry and is backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Project Servator, a police-led vigilance scheme to deter terrorist attacks at crowded places.

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Appropriate for start-up businesses through to established operators, and single independent premises to large groups of venues, its advice and guidance embraces safety and security inside premises and in garden and other outdoor seating areas during operating hours to security when closed.

Critical issues covered include responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers through to opportunist theft and physical venue security.

It includes procedures such as pre-employment checks, age verification, managing unplanned large queues and customer searches through to ejecting badly behaving customers and dispersal arrangements when everyone leaves at the same time.

Other aspects of security are included too, such as staff branded uniforms and identification badges, CCTV systems and lighting, identification scanning and intruder and hold-up alarms. Raised areas behind bars to increase staff vision are suggested, and how to assist customers to get home, such as displaying taxi contact details or bus and train times, are included too.

There is even a non-assessed guidance section on counter terrorism and a COVID-19 risk assessment template for licensees to use.

Police CPI have partnered with The Security Event to present the ‘Designing Out Crime Zone’ to showcase the latest police techniques to reduce crime and keep local communities safe. It has been designed to present a unique opportunity for attendees at the event to discover best practice around crime prevention and learn about our initiatives, with a particular focus on Secured by Design, Alarms, the Police Crime Police Academy, Police Digital Security Centre and Licensing SAVI.


Contact Licensing SAVI


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.