Best Bar None was piloted in Manchester in 2003. It proved to have such a positive effect on the evening and nighttime economy (ENTE) it is now active in over 75 towns and cities across the UK, Exeter being one.
The aim of the Best Bar None Scheme in Exeter is to reduce alcohol related crime, anti-social behaviour and increase business through the delivery of education, training and the promotion of best practice to broaden the appeal of Exeter more especially it’s Evening & Night Time Economy.
Exeter has a vibrant night time economy of around 500 licensed premises, 50 of which are concentrated within its Cumulative Impact Zone in the City Center, an area of less than a mile square. Its key venues are spread over this area which poses significant challenges in relation to both encouraging people to disperse after leaving night time venues and also in relation to getting help to those that may suddenly need urgent assistance.
There was a need to tackle rising violence and anti-social behaviour and for licensed premises to take more of a role in managing the impact of late night economy operations in a particular part of the city centre where nightclub closing times coincide with the end of a police shift pattern. This had regularly resulted in physical assaults between club visitors, both in the streets and in late night eateries.
The scheme has used the BBN ethos to encourage partners to work together to deal with this problem and improve night time economy safety for the public in the city centre. In 2015 when the scheme was launched this work was particularly important given that Exeter had been chosen as one of the host cities of the Rugby World Cup 2015 which itself coincided with Exeter University’s Freshers’ Week, both of which substantially increase numbers of new visitors to the city of Exeter.
This relationship has grown and become very positive, particularly since the creation of BBN Exeter in 2015. Steering group members include the police, licensing officers, venue mangers, trading standards, street pastors and door security staff whose relationship had already been embedded by meetings of other local groups including the Exeter late night economy forum, the taxi forum, the licensees association and the Exeter Community Safety Partnership. We all have a strong understanding of each partner’s role in the scheme, its powers and also their limitations which makes joint working effective. The strength of this relationship is recognised by new partners becoming involved in City centre safety work.
Although the national scheme was originally aimed at late night licensed venues, Exeter decided to extend the scheme to include restaurants who serve alcohol and also to those premises who provide late night refreshments and play a major role in the Exeter night-time economy.
The scheme has had to overcome obstacles along the way. The first obstacle was bringing together a number of licensed premises, who are in direct competition with each other, to work for the greater good of the city. The second challenge was about the management of patrons outside of premises. This challenge is harder due to the historical nature of the city which means that many of the licensed premises have a maximum of a metre and half outside their premises to work with. This area has now seen the implementation of a highly successful street marshal scheme introduced by BBN which sees door staff complementing police to disperse patrons safely. The street marshals provide the reassurance of a recognisable presence on the streets of the city centre and help to diffuse tensions at an early stage, often meaning that the Police do not have to become involved. Hi-vis BBN logo vests were distributed to the accredited venues.
Exeter BBN Scheme have continued to show a determination and commitment to improve the experience of those using the evening and night time economy, which is shown in the decreasing figures for alcohol related crime down 8.1% over the first 12 months in the city centre, with alcohol related public order down 24%. This reduction has been maintained during subsequent years with ASB overall in the City centre reducing by 25% in the last six months of 2017.
Exeter BBN have twice been finalists for the annual National Awards at the House of Lords. Awarded Highly Commended for the Best New Scheme 2015 and Best Overall Scheme 2015 and winning the most Innovative Scheme in 2016, something we are extremely proud of!
2018 and Beyond!
In response to several local deaths of young adults through intoxication there will be the launch this year of the “look after your mates” campaign with additional water safety training in response to deaths on Exeter Quay. This will be working in partnership with Devon and Fire Rescue Service and Colab Exeter.
Exeter BBN will also be introducing the national #askforangela initiative in October 2018 along with the support of Devon Rape Crisis. Free safeguarding training has been offered to all venues in August and from October we will be offering free training on #askforangela before implementing it into our venues.
As the scheme grows in Exeter and Nationally the scheme aims to increase membership in year 4 to include premises outside of the City centre allowing other venues to benefit from the sharing of ideas, resources and training. Initiatives are being investigated to increase awareness of the scheme through marketing promotions to promote the scheme to the general public. This will be achieved through the Exeter BBN app and events in the City.
Year 4 Accredited Venues
Birks Grange bar, Exeter University
Business School, Exeter University
Cross Keys, Exeter University
Duryard (Key House, Exeter University
Exeter City Football Club
Exeter Corn Exchange
Georges Meeting House
Great Hall and Devonshire House Complex, Exeter University
Heavitree Social Club
Hole in the Wall
Holland Hall, Exeter University
Lemon Grove, Exeter University
Lopes Hall, Exeter University
McDonalds, High Street
On the Waterfront
Reed Hall, Exeter University
St David’s Retail Shop, Exeter University
The Forum Complex, Exeter University
The RAM Bar, Exeter University
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