Sheffield has been named as one of the safest cities to enjoy a night out with the city winning one award and being shortlisted for another two.
The city has been awarded a ‘Purple Flag’ for the eighth successive year, which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between 5pm and 5am.
It comes as representatives from the Sheffield Best Bar None scheme, which aims to promote responsible drinking and reduce alcohol-related crime, will travel to the Houses of Parliament next month.
The city’s team is in the running to win the best innovation and best overall scheme in the country for its management of the night-time economy.
Sgt Matt Burdett, of the Sheffield Business Improvement District, said the introduction of ID scanners and crime scene preservation boxes had led to a reduction in the number of serious crimes.
He said: “The ID scanners are 99.9 per cent accurate in terms of picking up fake or tampered with IDs. They scan the ID and it pulls a picture up rather than having security trying to check them in poor lighting conditions, it will tell them how old a person is and records their details.
“It's a fantastic tool because if someone is going to go in and cause trouble do they really want to do that if their name and address has been scanned?”
City centre bar and nightclub owners have also been introducing the crime scene preservation boxes, which include items such as disposable gloves and tape to help preserve evidence and increase the safety of clubbers, should an incident occur.
Sgt Burdett added: “What we will say to clubs and bars is if something happened what would they do? The first thing is to ensure anyone needing medical attention is seen to and once that's been sorted they need to think how are they going to look after the scene, how are they going to cordon it off and how are they going to get people out of the venue safely.
"Putting everything in one place and having one person responsible for getting the box if an incident happens really helps because when something serious happens the adrenaline will be pumping and it is one less thing to think about.”
Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.
Sgt Burdett said: “There has been a change in the night-time economy in Sheffield and people have different ways of socialising now which our night time community have adapted to.
“We have got quite a few overseas students in Sheffield as well so that has seen a change in the night time culture.”
Coun Mary Lea, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said it was ‘brilliant’ to see the city recognised.
She said: “We work hard with partners across the city to provide an exciting, varied and safe place for people to shop, eat, drink, dance, relax and socialise, so it’s brilliant to see that Sheffield has been recognised nationally once again with the Purple Flag award.
“Sheffield is a unique city with so much to offer people of all ages and interests. Our varied mix of nightlife includes bars and restaurants, theatres, live music pubs, real ale trails, nightclubs and more, and each bring something different to suit the diverse needs of our culturally rich population.
“The 2018 festive period was one of our busiest yet, with the streets and venues heaving with shoppers and late night party-goers. This was very well managed thanks to the excellent partnerships we’ve developed in Sheffield, with SYP, Sheffield BID and our local night-time businesses and we will continue working closely together to make sure the Purple Flag keeps on flying proudly in Sheffield.”
Her colleague Coun Mazher Iqbal, the council’s cabinet member for business and investment, said investment in the city centre was ‘clear to see’.
He said: “Projects like these ensure that our leisure, entertainment and shopping offer keeps getting better and attracting more people to enjoy our vibrant city centre. Improved public spaces instil pride in residents and businesses and this leads to a cleaner, safer environment for everyone.
“Things are on the up in Sheffield city centre and I look forward to seeing where we are in another year’s time.”
Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID Manager said achieving the Purple Flag status was ‘testament’ to the hard work of a number of organisations in the city centre’
She added: “Creating a city centre which is safe is one of Sheffield BID’s core priorities and we are proud to fly the Purple Flag. The BID will continue to work with our partners to ensure people visiting for a night out are kept safe whilst they enjoy themselves.”
Sheffield also runs the Ask for Angela scheme – a way for people to ask for help if they feel unsafe on a date or night out in Sheffield.
Sarah Walker, Purple Flag programme manager at the Association of Town and City Management, said: “It’s fantastic to see Sheffield retain their Purple Flag accreditation at full renewal and seeing some of the great work that is going on in the area.
“The commitment to the Purple Flag programme by the stakeholders working together to ensure a safer evening and night-time destination should be commended.
“The award is not just about safety, but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer.”
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID ABOUT SHEFFIELD
Comments from Sheffield’s Purple Flag assessors report included:
- ‘Exceptional co-ordinated delivery of customer care and safeguarding’
- ‘Sheffield is nationally recognised as one of the best Best Bar None schemes and acts as an advisory to many schemes across the UK, currently in the running for Best overall BBN scheme and Most Innovative Scheme’
- ‘A very good eating destination, excellent mix of independent and national brands, culturally diverse’
-’ Crossover from evening to night to late night is seamless with the six theatres or live music venues and bars onto the major late night destinations’
- ‘A well-kept and historically well-presented city’
- ‘A thriving digital arts culture driven by the university presence along with literature festivals, culturally Sheffield is vibrant and appealing’
- ‘Without doubt, one of the most cohesive Purple Flag partnerships I have seen’