Durham’s university bars ‘raise a glass’ to national safety award.

May 22, 2023

College bars at Durham University have been praised by Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen for meeting strict standards of safety as part of a national accreditation scheme.

Fourteen out of the sixteen student bars at the University have now received endorsement from the Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI), meeting robust criteria to prove high standards of security and safety in their establishments.

The initiative, which has been developed by the police through the UK’s Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), is a confidential self-assessment toolkit designed to help owners and operators of licensed premises provide a safer and more secure environment for their managers, staff, customers and local communities.

Through the scheme, bar owners receive personalised advice and recommendations including how to work closely with Responsible Authorities to comply with the Licensing Act 2023 and successfully meet its four licensing objectives; the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Durham University’s South College Bar received the first five-star LSAVI in the country earlier this year.

Two of the latest bars to receive accreditation are the Junior Common Room (JCR) Bar at St Chad’s College and Collingwood College Bar. It is hoped that the scheme can now be rolled out to privately-owned bars in Durham to deliver consistent high standards across the city.  

Congratulating all the bars to have successfully achieved accreditation, Commissioner Allen said: “This is a phenomenal achievement and would not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of Durham University and its bar operators.

“I cannot stress how important and reassuring this accreditation is for parents and the students themselves. To have so many bars accredited in such a short space of time is a real success and I would like to thank everyone for getting behind this initiative.

“This project demonstrates the huge benefits of working in partnership to address safety. I hope other bars outside of the University will grasp the opportunity to come onboard and further improve the safety of our night-time venues. We already know our city is a safe and fun place to visit but this accreditation really proves it.”

Sam Dale, Director of Student Support and Wellbeing at Durham University, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is very important to us and we’re proud that so many of our college bars have gained this important national accreditation.”

Charlotte Sikorski, Bar President St Chad's College JCR Bar, said: “Obtaining this accreditation is a testament to our dedication towards maintaining the highest safety standards and reflects our ongoing commitment to the well-being of students.

“Having this chance to self-reflect on our procedures and training has been incredibly helpful in identifying our strengths and learning where improvements can still be made.”

Licensees who successfully complete the self-assessment receive a star-rating and can then apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation and an award which can be displayed at the premises showing the management’s efforts in creating a safe environment for customers.

Licensees can use their star rating as a benchmark to further improve their safety and security and achieve a higher star rating award year-on-year to grow their business.

The scheme was created in the wake of YouGov survey research which found three out of four adults want to see improved safety procedures in bars, pubs and nightclubs following publicity about women and girl’s safety nationally.

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