National award for scheme that promotes safer socialising
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A Kent Police initiative to improve the safety of women and girls in pubs and clubs has received a national award.
The force has been recognised for its implementation of the ‘Best Bar None’ national licensed premises accreditation scheme in Kent at the first National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing recognition event in London on 6 September 2023.
The award is the second accolade the scheme has won. Earlier this year it was crowned the ‘Best New Scheme for 2022’ at a national event held at the House of Lords.
The countywide initiative is designed to improve standards in what policing calls the ‘night time economy’ across Kent. To be accredited, licensed premises must demonstrate competency in a number of key areas, including venue management, staff training and customer safety.
All winning entries had to demonstrate how they built trust and confidence, that their approach was victim-centred, and they had to show impact, including how they were pursuing perpetrators.
The recognition event was developed and judged jointly by police forces and representatives from charities including SafeLives, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Karma Nirvana, alongside the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, and police staff associations.
Detective Superintendent Mark Weller, of the Protecting Vulnerable People Command at Kent Police, said:
‘It is incredibly rewarding for our officers to receive this recognition and a testament to partnership working. ‘We are aware of the disproportionate effect that violent crime has on women and girls and we know there is always more to be done. That’s why we have dedicated officers and PCSOs in Community Safety Units across the county working all the time to prevent and deter criminal activity in public places and improve safety in pubs, clubs and bars. ‘We run regular operations where both uniformed and plain-clothed officers work with door staff, CCTV operators, taxi firms and volunteers such as Street Pastors to help make night-time venues enjoyable and safe for everyone. As part of this, many licensed venues have signed up to the Best Bar None scheme to demonstrate their commitment to protecting their customers. ‘Recent stats show that arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour have fallen by 42%, from 716 arrests in 2018 to just 415 in 2022. It is likely that the Best Bar None initiative combined with a more proactive approach from venues has contributed to this decrease in the number of incidents. ‘Officers also regularly give out advice and anti-spiking products, for example, during walk-and-talk events for women and girls so they can share their views on how they can be helped to feel safer. No one should feel at risk when they are out at night, and we will continue to listen to concerns, learn and ensure we seek out people who are intent on causing harm to others.’