Pioneering Initiative to Make Festive Period Safer Hailed a Success

by Fraser Clarke

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

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A SCHEME which aimed to make Edinburgh’s streets and venues safer over the Christmas period has been hailed as a “massive success” by nightclubs and Police Scotland.

The capital is famed as one of Europe’s premier locations for Christmas tourism with its host of festive entertainment options and bustling German markets.

Unight, a partnership of the capital’s late night venues, along with local police and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has been testing a modern way of keeping revellers safe throughout the festive period.

The user-friendly new information sharing platform allowed senior door staff and club managers to alert their counterparts throughout the city if an unruly individual caused problems at their venue.

The system allowed an email alert to be sent instantly if someone committed a serious crime such as an assault or drug offence, which in turn alerted police and allowed bouncers across the capital to keep an eye out for troublesome individuals.

From the alerts, in the run up to the festive period, seven people were charged with possession of a controlled drug.

During December two people were apprehended for assault thanks to the new partnership.

David MacCrimmon, SOC and Counter Terrorism Lead at SBRC said: “We worked closely with both Unight and Police Scotland to come up with more innovative and inventive ways to bolster the night time economy sector and make its businesses even more resilient to both anti-social behaviour and other areas of criminality.

“Therefore, it’s particularly pleasing to hear that the new information sharing platform has helped create a safer environment for club goers and weed out the minority who cause trouble.

“There were a number of good quality alerts sent out over the new year period, including one which identified and led to the apprehension of two individuals who had become violent to door staff.

“Keeping people safe has always been a key message for Police Scotland to reinforce and SBRC are keen to repeat that, but keeping businesses safe not only protects them but ensures that they are best placed to protect and keep the public safe.”

The new software allows clubs to set ban lengths for people who cause problems within their premises and also allows users to search for anyone who has been removed from other clubs or bars.

It also means that bouncers are able to recognise unruly individuals who try to get into nightclubs or bars having been previously kicked out from another premises nearby.

Jay Glass, Area Manager for Why Not nightclub in Edinburgh, said: “The framework which is now in place has been a massive success, with lots of licensed premises already signed up creating a digital community between the bars and nightclubs in the city.

“The aim is to prevent irresponsible people from entering our venues and causing problems for police, other customers and themselves, ultimately making the capital a safer place.

“It’s great that clubs can work together like this and make sure that the vast majority of people who just wanted to go out and have a good time over the festive break, were able to do so without encountering those individuals out to cause trouble.”

The system sees clubs apply to join and then once accepted, bouncers can alert managers to unruly revellers so that their images can be taken from CCTV and passed other venues on the system.

Sergeant Mark Innes from the City Centre Policing Team said: “We are committed to safeguarding the welfare all of those who frequent and work within Edinburgh’s night time economy sector and the UNIGHT initiative demonstrates the willingness of partners within the licensed premises industry to help us achieve this aim.

“UNIGHT promotes information sharing between venues and police and improves the overall safety of the public. It has the full support of Edinburgh Division.

“Throughout the festive period we engaged with all the members of UNIGHT as well as security companies and we believe this contributed to a positive and enjoyable Christmas and New Year for patrons and staff alike.”

The SBRC was set up with the objective of creating a secure Scotland for business to flourish, encompassing everything from cyber security to all aspects of premises and employee safety.

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Young PR professional Fraser Clarke, who works with public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Fraser Clarke

Young public relations professional Fraser Clarke is part of the multi award-winning team at Holyrood PR, a leading Scottish PR agency

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