Local venues and organisations join forces to improve the safety of Swindon’s night-time economy

By Nick Batten on 6 March, 2023

Hospitality venues in Swindon have teamed up with partner agencies as part of an initiative to improve safety and security in licensed premises.

Twenty of Swindon’s bars, restaurants and pubs have been working with Swindon Borough Council’s Licensing team, Swindon Pub Watch and Wiltshire Police to undertake Licensing, Security and Vulnerability Initiative (LSAVI) training.

The training, which was provided free by the Council, saw all venues achieve a maximum five-star rating, and provides 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 builds on a free programme of welfare and vulnerability awareness training organised by the Council to equip bar and venue staff with the ability to identify alcohol-related vulnerability, including how to spot harassment, and what steps to take to help prevent customers from coming to harm.

Dozens of bars, clubs and other licensed premises in Swindon have already signed up to the national ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme, which allows people who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened to ask for help by approaching venue staff and using the “Angela” code word.

Last year, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner launched the Safety at Night Charter in partnership with Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council after survey results revealed that just three per cent of people felt safe when out and about at night.

By voluntarily signing the charter, businesses agree to proactively tackle the issue of safety within the night-time economy.

Councillor Steve Heyes, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Health Inequalities, said, “We need to do all we can to ensure that everyone, especially women and girls, feel safe at night, whether they are working, travelling or enjoying a great night out here in Swindon.

“The Council, working with our partners, is committed to making our night-time economy as safe as possible and the training we have provided to licensed premises is an important step in helping to achieve this aim.

“I’d like to thank all the businesses who have taken part in the training so far and would encourage any other businesses who would like to find out more about the training opportunities to get in touch with us.”

Justin Britchford, from MECA, who chairs Swindon Pub Watch, said, “We have a fantastic, thriving night-time economy in Swindon and we want to encourage local people to experience what we have to offer.

“Part of that involves ensuring that our bars, clubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues are safe and welcoming to customers. The LSAVI training has been a great tool to help us focus on some of the finer points of making our venues safer and more appealing to those looking to enjoy a night out with friends or family.”

Businesses who would like to find out more about the licensing initiatives to promote safety in Swindon’s night-time economy should email: Licensing@swindon.gov.uk

Pictured above: (left to right): Danny Mason of Longs Bar, Justin Britchford of MECA and chair of Pub Watch, and Sarah-Jane Roberts, general manager of Mackenzies