Southampton set its sights on flying the Purple Flag

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21 April 2022

Southampton is to have two permanent security personnel to further enhance the safety of the streets after dark as part of the city’s bid for coveted Purple Flag status.

Extra safety measures piloted until the end of March, were originally funded by the Government’s Safety of Women and Girls at Night Fund and organised by the city’s BID and the City Council’s Violence Reduction Unit.

Other safety initiatives were piloted including schemes run by St. John Ambulance, Street pastors, Synergy Security and Hampshire Constabulary. As well as additional night-time security the pilot included the introduction of safe spaces, a pop-up safe zone and an increase in night buses for students.

Now the scheme has ended, the new measures will play a significant role in the city’s bid to achieve international Purple Flag status, a scheme that recognises cities as safe destinations for visitors and residents.

The extra security patrols proved so beneficial to the community they are to remain, with two personnel patrolling the BID area on Fridays and Saturdays from 9pm to 5am. The security patrols will be funded by GO! Southampton going forward.

GO! Southampton has teamed up with the City Council and other stakeholders to apply for Purple Flag status in June, which will be funded by the Government’s Welcome Back Fund.

The Purple Flag scheme is similar to the Green Flag for parks and Blue Flags for beaches and recognises cities and towns that take measures to ensure their vibrant centres are welcoming and safe destinations for visitors and residents.

Rebecca Handley, Interim Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said: “It’s so important that everyone across Southampton can feel safe at any time of the day, and thanks to support from the Home Office, we have been able to fund these safety pilot schemes across the city.

“Southampton is a safe city, but we want to ensure we are doing all we can to provide security, assistance and peace of mind for visitors and residents alike. Receiving Purple Flag status will be a fantastic achievement for the city and put Southampton on the map as an exciting, thriving and safe place to visit in the evening.”

Important criteria for receiving Purple Flag status include:

  • An after-hours policy that shows a clear strategy based on sound research, integrated public policy and a successful multi-sector partnership.
  • Destinations are safe and welcoming with all sectors playing their part in delivering high standards of customer care.
  • Getting home safely is crucial as is the ability to move around the area with ease.
  • Successful areas are alive during the day as well as in the evening. They contain an overlapping blend of activities that encourage people to mingle and enjoy the place. They reinforce the character and identity of the area as well as flair and imagination for urban design for the night.

More information regarding the Purple Flag scheme can be found here

As part of their 2022 – 2023 programme of work, GO! Southampton will be working with partners on commissioning a new night-time economy strategy.

Southampton District Commander, Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said: “We are working really hard as a collective to bring the Purple Flag status to Southampton and reassure people that Southampton is a safe city. This is a fantastic scheme and collectively strengthens our aim to make Southampton safer.

“Whilst we as the police have a hugely important role to play in making Southampton safer, our city partners do an extraordinary amount of work to help people too. Southampton City Council, GO! Southampton, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit, Yellow Door, The Hampton Trust, Solent University, University of Southampton, Street Pastors and St John’s Ambulance staff are all working towards keeping people safe, alongside us, day and night.

“We’re supporting the extra security patrols and security staff with our own operations on Friday and Saturday nights by providing a clear presence around bars and clubs, identifying those who need our help and identifying perpetrators to make early interventions to prevent crime from taking place.”

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