06 February 2023
Southampton has been recognised for its evening and night-time economy as it receives Purple Flag status.
GO! Southampton, the city’s business improvement district (BID) has led the accreditation process over the past 12 months, alongside Southampton City Council, key partners and local businesses.
The coveted award, organised by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), recognises cities and towns that take measures to ensure their vibrant centres are safe, diverse, vibrant, appealing, well-managed, and offer a positive experience to consumers during the evening.
Highlights from the submission included the high standard of street cleaning across the city as well as the absence of graffiti and litter, the evident strength of the partnership, and the provision of a significantly well-resourced and professional triage facility run by St Johns Ambulance, which was well integrated into the overall running of the night-time economy.
To strengthen its application, GO! Southampton worked alongside Southampton City Council’s Violence Reduction Unit to introduce the night-time patrol of the BID area by two personnel on Fridays and Saturdays from 9pm to 5am. These measures were funded by the Government’s Safety of Women and Girls at Night. The fund also allowed the BID to extend their radio network to night-time venues and hotels in the city centre.
Other safety initiatives piloted included schemes run by Street Pastors, Synergy Security and Hampshire and Isle of Wight 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-time buses available for students.
Some of the benefits of having the Purple Flag status include a raised profile and an improved public image, increase in footfall, lower crime and antisocial behaviour, and regeneration and development to the area.
Councillor Matt Renyard, Cabinet Member for a Safer City said: “To be awarded Purple Flag status is a fantastic accolade and testament to the hard work of the council and partners across the city in making Southampton a safer place to live, work and visit.
“With our varied and vibrant night life, Southampton has so much to offer and we are committed to ensuring that we continue to be a safe destination that people can enjoy with confidence.”
A spokesperson from the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), awarders of the standard, said: “To hold a ‘Purple Flag’ status has been hugely important to many towns and cities as they adjust to a new way of life after the COVID-19 pandemic and now feel the weight of the cost-of-living crisis.
“The award will be instrumental in broadening the appeal of Southampton, which has excelled in its vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture, while also promoting the importance of the safety and wellbeing of the city’s visitors and local residents.”
Important criteria for receiving Purple Flag status includes:
- 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.
Stephen Manion, Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said: “The BID is committed to ensuring the city is a safer place to live, shop and work, so achieving the Purple Flag Award reassures us that our measures are working.
“We are proud that are city is not only a safe one, but welcoming too, and we want to continue providing security, assistance and peace of mind for visitors, students and residents alike.
“Having this status is a fantastic achievement and will help put Southampton on the map as an exciting, thriving and safe place to visit in the evening. We are looking forward to the awards ceremony in Liverpool later in March.”
More information regarding the Purple Flag scheme can be found here: www.atcm.org/purple-flag