With bonfire night or for the purists Guy Fawkes night out of the way, Christmas is marching quickly towards us. For those of us who have worked in night time economy management, it’s a time of year when we watch everyone else party with a mixture of amusement and dismay at the antics that can be witnessed through increased parties, lowered inhibitions, colder weather and high spirits.
So how do you best prepare your city or town centre for a safe and successful Christmas? Here are our top seven tips:
- Have a partnership planning Christmas meeting and corresponding strategy
Use an existing partnership meeting or set up a specific one to share each partner’s Christmas plans, and work together to identify any gaps or overlaps in provision. We would recommend that this should include sharing intelligence from previous years. This could include hot spots for violence, burglary, theft or vulnerability issues, transport both in and out of the city, or particularly busy events, times of the night or dates. Partners to include in this meeting are the police, local authority public protection, licensing teams, ambulance, transport partners, lighting and cleansing, town centre management, the business improvement district and universities if you have any.
- Share resource planning with venues
We would recommend that you communicate to venues which of the partners are working and when, and also which organisations are the most appropriate to contact, dependent on the specific issues they have. A simple way of doing this is to create a poster that can be put up in the staff room. Make sure this is delivered to the venues rather than sent by email in the hope that they will print it off, as it’s their busiest time of year so they may not have time to read and action emails.
- Provide any relevant information to the public.
Communicate transportation timetables, available support services and alternatives to emergency services over the festive period, to help people plan for their nights out more safely and effectively. The most cost effective way is through social media campaigns, shared by all partners.
- Consider whether to set up temporary safety projects
Consider whether projects set up specifically for the busy Christmas and New Year period, such as Safe Spaces, Taxi Marshalls and welfare services would benefit your town or city for the season.
- Have a partnership communications strategy
Invite marketing representatives from all operational partners in your town and city to a meeting to create a Christmas and New Year consumer communications strategy covering:
- Available support services such as Voluntary support groups (i.e Street Pastors, Angels, Safe Spaces)
- Late night transport options
- Safety messages. These could include campaigns around drugs, weapons, drink driving, theft, drugs, spiking, etc. We find that these have the biggest impact if all partners agree on, use and share each other’s campaigns, giving a consistent approach and message.
- Keep the wider partnership informed
Ensure that other groups such as CCTV, Radio, Pubwatch, taxis and venues receive a briefing from the partnership group with key points taken from the partnership planning meeting, delivered in an easy and quick to read format.
- Create an open door policy for issues
Offer an easy, well-publicised way for large venues or event spaces to communicate their plans to the Police and Council, so that a risk management strategy can be created.
We hope that this is helpful, if you have any additional suggestions that you would like to share with the night time economy community, please let us know and we will add them in.
If you need any help with seasonal planning or a specific issue, then please don’t hesitate to give us a ring for a free 30-minute consultation. Call Jo on 07734 255 807 or Sylvia on 07504 973421.