Cheers to a safe festive season - Between the Lines

Venues, bars, restaurants, hotels must ensure customers are well looked after, says Hogg. Picture: Imagine Images
Venues, bars, restaurants, hotels must ensure customers are well looked after, says Hogg. Picture: Imagine Images
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Best Bar None, a not-for-profit national accreditation and award scheme aiming to raise standards amongst licensed venues, is urging all licensed premises to place a high emphasis on personal safety this festive season.

The scheme recognises positive management helping to facilitate safe and enjoyable nights out for the public, while working to reduce crime, reward excellence, and improve standards of venues selling alcohol. It was developed in partnership with the organisations including Scottish Government, Police Scotland, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Licensing Boards and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy a good and safe night out. It is in all our interests; the general public, business and the emergency services, to keep the day and night time economy in Scotland’s towns and cities vibrant and safe places to visit.

This is particularly true at this time of year when everywhere is gearing up for the Christmas party and Christmas market season. Take Edinburgh, for example, where millions of people flock each year and the Christmas period generates well over £100 million for the economy. It’s vital that venues, bars, restaurants, hotels across the capital ensure that these visitors are well looked after, enjoy a good day or night out and, most importantly, stay safe.

Trouble on a night out has consequences across the board, and often it is preventable if venues focus on safety and customer care as well as offering a quality experience. Licensed premises need to work together to encourage social responsibility and a duty of care, improve knowledge and skills to assist in responsible management, and promote partnerships to identify good practice.

Licensed premises rely on people enjoying themselves for success, so it stands to reason that they need to invest in proper policies and procedures to ensure that this happens and reduce alcohol-related crime. Trouble has a negative impact, not only on a venue’s revenue streams, but also on the wider area it is situated in and on the over-worked emergency services in that region. The message from Best Bar None Scotland is let’s work together now so we can try and prevent crime and disorder and improve public safety.

Best Bar None Edinburgh recently honoured the best examples of this at its awards night, where 46 businesses from across the capital were recognised for their work to support a safe night out. Winners included the Marriot Hotel, The Terrace, Atik, Hemma, the Gorgie Suite at Heart of Midlothian Football Club and the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

- Police sergeant Robert Hogg, national coordinator for Best Bar None Scotland, which is currently looking for sponsors for its 2019/20 National Awards, due to take place at Dunblane Hydro in March.