New pilot pushing venues to protect intoxicated patrons

Mon, 30/10/2017

Westminster City Council is launching a new pilot in the Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square areas that asks businesses to provide enhanced support for those who have been made vulnerable by alcohol.

This pilot will be the first part of a new strategy called the Westminster Licensing Charter aimed at protecting those who are intoxicated and vulnerable. The Charter is voluntary and encourages businesses to think about how they can share best practice to support patrons in and around the vicinity of their premises.

With the support of the Heart of London Business Alliance and Best Bar None the scheme has been crafted for the area to provide industry-leading support for patrons. Support could include safe places to sober up, non-alcoholic beverages, help finding a way home, phone chargers and other assistance to reconnect with friends for a safe journey home. The scheme aims to prevent intoxicated and vulnerable people from becoming victims of antisocial behaviour and opportunistic crime.

Having business, the council and police working together across a range of Charter initiatives will improve safety for all, particularly the vulnerable, and drive up business standards.

In response Councillor Nickie Aiken, Leader of Westminster City Council, said,
"Leaving vulnerable, drunk people on the streets doesn’t just put them in danger, it puts a strain on our already pressured emergency services, from paramedics to police to A&E doctors. This is why we are working closely with businesses to pilot our new Licensing Charter, which represents a step change in how we protect those who are intoxicated and vulnerable.

"This new approach doesn't look at the seriously intoxicated as a problem to push into the street, instead it asks businesses to set up areas for people to sober up and have plans in place to help at risk patrons get home safe.

"Our Licensing Charter focuses on recognising achievement in good premises, driving standards up and changing the relationship between the council, the police and industry.

" For Westminster’s evening and night-time economy to continue to thrive we need to be smart in how we give businesses the space and support to proactively improve what they do and not just take action when things go wrong. "

Premises will be encouraged to have a policy on how to deal with people who may be vulnerable (as a result of intoxication or otherwise) both inside or in the immediate vicinity of the premises. Which could include aspects such as,

  • Provision of free bottled water and/or hot drinks to intoxicated vulnerable individuals
  • Provide safe and secure phone charging opportunities for patrons
  • Help to find friends or safe transport home for those who are vulnerable
  • Staff engage in sign-posting to or calling in other services e.g. street pastors, the Police and Ambulance service.
  • Establishment of a safe space or a ‘support and information hub’
  • Information regularly given to customers on how to get home safe at night

This initial pilot will be part of the wider Best Bar None network and their expertise will help support this specific scheme going forward.

The pilot will take place within the area supported by the Heart of London Business Alliance, and local businesses will be encouraged to volunteer for the scheme over the coming months.

Our Licensing Charter work forms a key element of Westminster’s successful Home Office Local Area Alcohol Action (LAAA) bid. It addresses two of the principle aims of the Home Office programme, that is, to prevent alcohol-related crime and disorder and to generate economic growth by creating a vibrant and diverse evening and night time economy.

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Last updated: 3 November 2017
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