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Enjoy Halloween as licensed venues urged to put safety measures in place to protect staff and customers

Halloween is a great opportunity for pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants to enjoy fun time with customers who may want to celebrate in ghoulish costumes, masks and wacky make-up.


Whilst licensees and managers enjoy this timely and welcome boost to their income on the last weekend of October, they should be ready to brief their staff on how best to keep customers safe.

This advice has come from Mark Morgan, Business Manager of Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), a police safety initiative, which has just commenced its national roll out to 300 venues in West Yorkshire.

Licensing SAVI has been developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (Police CPI), a police-owned organisation, which works alongside the Police Service around the UK to deter and reduce crime.

Licensing SAVI is an online self-assessment, which provides all the information that licensees need to run safe and secure venues for the benefit of their staff and customers whilst having the opportunity to achieve the first ever National Policing Award for licensed venues in England and Wales.

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YouGov Research commissioned by Police CPI of 5,050 adults aged 18-45 between August and September 2021, showed that 39% of adults would more likely visit either a bar/pub or nightclub more if they felt safer and 32% of adults would more likely visit either a bar/pub or nightclub more if it had a Police Safety Award.

Mark said: “We want venues to have a great time and to make the most of Halloween, but we ask that they take a few simple steps to keep their customers safe especially at this time of national concern around the safety of women and girls.”

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Here’s our top tips:

- Check Premises Licence conditions to ensure plans are compliant, especially when considering using space differently such as outside areas which may not have been used before; and submit Temporary Event Notices where necessary as early as possible

- Review your policies and risk assessments to ensure they are fit for purpose

- Record changes to operating practices in risk assessments and audit trails

- Ensure staff are wearing branded uniforms/badges so customers know who to ask for assistance

- Remind staff of 21/25 age-identification schemes, especially as Halloween costumes and make-up could make under-age teenagers look older

- Use polycarbonate or similar drinking vessels, decant any bottles to reduce risk of injury or harm, and ask staff to clear rubbish quickly and remove to secure storage

- Run sensible drinking promotions and make free water available

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- Encourage staff to be on the look-out for drink spiking, monitor unattended drinks and provide immediate assistance to customers feeling dizzy, disorientated or showing signs of intoxication; also for the venue to provide signage warning not to leave drinks unattended

- Brief staff on the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign to assist customers who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened by discreetly asking staff for ‘Angela’ – a code-word that says a customer needs help, such as by re-uniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police

- Remind staff it is an offence to serve a drunk person (or on behalf of a drunk person)

- Respect customers who may still want to social distance and wear masks following the lifting of statutory COVID-19 restrictions

- Display numbers of reputable taxi companies and signpost nearby transport hubs, and consider your dispersal plans when everyone leaves at the same time

- When decorating the venue use battery-operated candles or glow sticks in carved pumpkins

- Check smoke alarms are working and keep decorations clear of exits to allow for escape in emergency

- Check staff know the fire emergency procedures.

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Licensing SAVI brings together for the first time all the information that licensees in England and Wales need to promote the four, all-important Licensing Objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm, and Public Safety.

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

Available as an online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI brings together definitive information on effective management practices and operational security including some straightforward safety measures – many of which can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost and some which licensed premises may not have considered before. Importantly, completion of the self-assessment can lead to Accreditation and an Award with a Star-Rating for display to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety and security.


Licensing SAVI:

Secured by Design:

Suzy Lamplugh Trust:

National Fire Protection Association:


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.