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College of Policing conference hears about forthcoming SBD licensing initiative

One hundred and thirty police licensing officers from across the UK were updated on a new initiative that will assist forces in working with the licensing industry to reduce crime and provide safe venues for customers and staff.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council Licensing & Alcohol Harm Reduction practitioners’ conference, held at the College of Policing in Ryton, heard how Secured by Design’s (SBD) Licensed Premises Security & Vulnerability Initiative, known as Licensing SAVI, will transform the way the licensing industry works with Responsible Authorities, such as Police and Local Authorities.

Jean Irving, National Lead for Licensing SAVI and formerly Head of Licensing and Public Safety at Sussex Police, presented details of how licensed premises, ranging from small country pubs to large city nightclubs, are being encouraged to complete an online self-assessment, which will record their operational security and management practices.

The assessment will provide advice in relation to compliance with the Licensing Act 2003, and make recommendations to enhance management practices to keep staff and customers safe as well as provide a secure venue in terms of physical security.

The online self-assessment has been developed over the last year by SBD following a Home Office request to produce a guidance manual for Licensed Premises.

It is being produced with consultation and feedback from Home Office officials, the Security Industry Authority, the National Police Chief’s Council’s Licensing Group, The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, Metropolitan Policing Licensing Officers, Fire and Rescue Services, Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and a number of Licensees and Licensing lawyers.

Jean said: “I was delighted to be invited to the annual licensing conference at the College of Policing to discuss Licensing SAVI, which is being developed to support licensees to keep themselves, their staff and customers safe, whilst also ensuring compliance with the Licensing Act.

“The subsequent questions and amazing feedback from the delegates on the initiative has indicated that there will be substantial support for it once we are in a position to launch. There were many offers from the delegates wishing to participate in a pilot, which is fantastic and shows the enthusiasm that the police have for Licensing SAVI.

“This is all about raising the standards within licensed premises and making sure everyone is kept safe while having an enjoyable time, and that the Licensees are running a successful and profit-making business.”

For the first time, Licensing SAVI brings together all the guidance, standards and advice to reduce the risk and the fear of crime that Licensees have obtained traditionally only through many meetings with the Licensing Act 2003 Responsible Authorities, such as the Police, Local Authority Licensing and Fire & Rescue Services.

By giving Licensees the ‘heads-up’ on the types of questions likely to be asked during the course of running a Licensed Premises or setting up a new one, they will have the opportunity to review and remedy any shortfalls, which may be highlighted in their policies or procedures.

Following completion by the Licensee (or their Agent), a bespoke confidential report is produced. However, if Licensees wish, they can share it with relevant third-parties, such as Responsible Authorities as well as their legal advisers and architects.

Completion of the Licensing SAVI assessment means Licensed Premises can apply for the SBD Security and Vulnerability Award, which can be used to market venues as a safe and secure premises. This will be a star-rated award scheme similar to the well-known food rating scheme, which has been running for a number of years.

Licensing SAVI will save Licensees time and money by helping them get security and effective practices right first time to achieve high standards that ultimately benefit their customers.