Hackney Council has launched a new scheme to promote women and girls’ safety and tackle hate crime and pickpocketing in the borough’s nightlife venues.
The new Hackney Nights accreditation scheme offers licensed venues free safety training and guidance focusing on: crime prevention, promoting inclusivity, increasing sustainability and health and wellbeing.
The safety training will equip staff with the knowledge and skills needed to make their venues safer and aims to address current issues such as the use of nitrous oxide, pickpocketing and drink spiking.
Venues that gain accreditation will benefit from a 30% reduction in their late night levy fees, an initiative brought in by the council after the pandemic as part of their wider recovery plan.
The scheme is also part of the council’s commitment to ending violence against women and venues taking part in the scheme are required to sign up to the Women’s Safety Charter and promote Hackney’s ongoing work to protect women against sexual harassment.
The scheme was trialled in a few venues earlier this year and a ceremony was held for the venues that successfully gained their accreditation, where they were presented with certificates.
The ceremony was attended by the mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, councillor Susan Fajana-Thomas and other partners on the scheme.
Five venues – Village Underground, Oslo Hackney, EartH, Blondies, and Mascara Bar – have successfully obtained their accreditation so far, with others currently undergoing the process.
Fajana-Thomas said: “I am very excited to announce the official launch of our new Hackney Nights accreditation scheme following a successful pilot with some of our licensed venues earlier this year. This scheme is the first of its kind in the country and a lot of work has gone into it from council staff, the police and licensees.
“This new scheme will give staff in our licensed venues access to quality training to ensure they are equipped to deal with any issue that could arise.”
Maggie, the owner and manager of Mascara Bar, said: “The Hackney Nights Accreditation Scheme gives young bartenders the skills to deal with all situations and gives somebody like me, an independent operator, credit for doing a good job and getting a rate and discount as well.”
“A lot of the time as a small, independent business, we can get overlooked by bigger corporate companies where they have money to throw at things. Hackney Nights provided us with the training we needed for our staff and the recognition that we deserve.”
Fajana-Thomas encourages all licensed venues to join the scheme: “When we created our night time safety charter, Hackney Nights, the primary goal was to ensure everyone is able to enjoy Hackney’s nightlife without fear of harassment or crime and this remains a priority for us. I would encourage all of our licensed venues to get onboard and benefit from what this scheme has to offer.”