Multi-agency partnership schemes that reduce crime and vulnerability in the night time economy were celebrated today at a Parliamentary reception hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Portman Group.

MPs, NHS, Police and businesses saw how partnership-led safe spaces provide a haven for vulnerable people and can provide treatment for minor injuries and creating a better visitor environment in the UK’s night-time economy and reducing the impact on public services. The event included an interactive session with a team from the Clapham Night Hub safe space, which is funded by the local Business Improvement District and featured as a case study in MAKE and Portman Group’s audit of safe spaces operating in the UK.

Commenting on the reception: Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said:

“The Government’s Modern Crime Prevention Strategy included a commitment to establish effective local partnerships to reduce crime and vulnerability in the night time economy.

“Since its launch, we have been working with 32 areas across England and Wales to support local action, working in partnership to tackle alcohol-related harms, including expanding the use of safe spaces.

“I welcome the commitment I’ve seen to local partnership working and new ways of managing the night-time economy, which Safe Spaces exemplify.”

Portman Group Chief Executive, John Timothy said:

“Today’s reception highlights the importance of the partnership working approach that underpins all safe space schemes. As we look to grow the number of safe spaces in our night-time economy, the importance of engaging all relevant stakeholders in the discussion should not be forgotten. Tackling harm and reducing vulnerability has to be a collective effort.  The vast majority of people enjoy their nights out safely with just a tiny fraction – less than 1% – at risk of becoming vulnerable or causing anti-social behaviour through alcohol misuse. Safe Spaces play a vital role in preventing harm and supporting individuals, relieving pressure on police, ambulance and A&E services.” 

Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, Mike Wood MP, said:

“I was delighted to sponsor this reception.  Going out for a drink with friends is one of life’s great pleasures.  But people want to feel safe while they are out enjoying our increasingly diverse range of pubs, clubs and restaurants, which make up our vibrant night-time economy. Safe spaces clearly demonstrate a practical way to keep people who may have had too much to drink, safe and avoid them becoming vulnerable or a victim of crime, reducing pressures on Police and local health services.”

Portman Group commissioned MAKE Associates to carry out the first ever comprehensive audit of safe spaces in the UK night-time economy. The research found that while the vast majority of people enjoy their nights out, a small fraction (less than 1%) risk becoming vulnerable or causing anti-social behaviour through alcohol misuse. safe spaces play a vital role in supporting these individuals by relieving pressure on police, ambulance and A&E services.

MAKE estimates that investment in safe spaces can help offset public sector costs by as much as £9.31 for every £1 spent. However, the report makes clear that safe spaces have yet to reach their full potential, concluding that as many as 150+ schemes could be rolled out nationwide. It is estimated that a network on this scale could return over £100m annually to the NHS to be redeployed to other services.