This summer is likely to see bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels being more popular than ever following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and families and friends choosing to holiday in the UK.
This is likely to put a huge demand on licensed venues, which may have to recruit new staff to bolster those returning after long periods on furlough.
As managers and staff seek to meet the needs of customers whilst continuing to implement social distancing measures, it could become a critical test of a venue’s operational security and management practices.
Police and Council Licensing Teams will be expecting managers to brief their staff, either for the first time, or as a refresh, on some of the most important considerations to help keep customers safe.
On customer arrival, staff will need to be aware how to deal with unplanned large queues and be updated on the latest requirements about social distancing, the wearing of masks and QR code check-in.
They will also need to know when the venue has reached capacity, such as by regular counting or by using devices like a mechanical clicker or an electronic scanning system.
For example, how is a fire alarm raised, which fire exits should be used and where is the assembly point? Will staff know who is the qualified first-aider and the location and use of a defibrillator?
As closing time nears, is there a freephone telephone for customers to call for a taxi or notices near the exit displaying the times of local buses or trains? What is the dispersal plan for the peaceful departure of customers who leave at the same time? Then there is the return of keys, locks, pass codes, security fobs into safe storage – and a final search of the premises to complement the search carried out at the start of the day.
Developed at the request of the Home Office and supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Licensing SAVI is an online self-assessment which provides for the first time, consistent guidance and standards that licensed premises in England and Wales need to meet the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 and promote the four Licensing Objectives: Prevention of Public Nuisance, Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Protection of Children from Harm, and Public Safety. Many of the safety and security measures in Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.
Licensees that complete the self-assessment will receive a Star-Rating and can apply for Licensing SAVI Accreditation and an Award, which will show their Star-Rating and can be displayed at their venue to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety.
Staff should be ready to clear away empty glasses and bottles, be on the look-out for drink spiking and be prepared to deal with heavy drinking or drug use. They will need to know what to do when prohibited items like drugs or weapons are found and seized and when customers need to be ejected – and by what pre-planned route.
In the most extreme cases, staff need to know what to do when emergency services are required in case someone is in need of urgent medical attention, a crime is committed and the scene needs to be preserved, or a fire breaks out on the premises.