Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has launched a pilot initiative across south-west England aimed at helping to keep young people safe on their nights out.
It will create Drinkaware Club Hosts to work at nightclubs across the region – specially trained staff who work in bars and clubs to reduce drunken anti-social behaviour and help keep people safe.
Working in pairs, the club hosts will have a presence in the venue throughout the night, talking to customers at the start of the evening when a queue is forming, supporting customers who are vulnerable due to alcohol and ensuring guests leave safely after the venue has closed.
Running for six months, the pilot scheme has been developed by Drinkaware with Devon and Cornwall Police, Gloucestershire Police, police and crime commissioners Tony Hogg and Martin Surl and local community partnerships.
Drinkaware is working with partners across Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire to test and evaluate the intervention, including Timepiece in Exeter, Plymouth Students’ Union and Popworld in Plymouth, The Venue in Torquay, The Office in Truro and Moomoo Clubrooms in Cheltenham. It will also be running at Rock City nightclub in Nottingham.
Findings will be used to inform an ongoing roll-out of the Drinkaware Club Host programme in other parts of the country.
This follows an initial pilot carried out in Nottingham in 2014 as part of Drinkaware’s Drunken Nights Out campaign, developed to reduce alcohol-related harm in the night-time economy.
Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: “Following a successful pilot in Nottinghamshire last year we are delighted to be launching Drinkaware Club Hosts in the south-west of England in collaboration with police and community partnerships across the region.
“We are encouraged by the findings from our initial pilot that indicated that this initiative can help to reduce the number of young adults experiencing drunken sexual harassment and other negative experiences on a night out. If behaviour isn’t acceptable sober, it isn’t acceptable drunk.”
Tony Hogg, police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said: “Tackling alcohol-related harm and crime is one of my top priorities in my police and crime plan. This is an important new pilot to help people made vulnerable through alcohol and safeguard them within venues.
“It will complement and work alongside existing support structures in the night time economy and help keep people safe on their night out.
“I am delighted at the level of engagement and support we have had from local partners. We have been working closely with local authorities, street pastors and the venues to put this pilot together.”