7. Design for safety

Audit your space(s) regularly. Adapt them to create a safer environment and reduce the risk of misconduct.

Nightlife environments can change on a nightly basis, depending on the event, audience, music, number of customers, furnishings and props, etc. Designing for safety is a conversation you should have on a nightly basis, and use as a tool to plan long term.

/ On a nightly basis

Use your venue hotspot map as part of your preevent briefing. Remember to highlight any areas of concern that are specific to the layout of that event.

When you find a more effective way to mitigate incidents, update relevant risk assessments, and record in your logbook or post-show report. Lessons learned in a live environment can help design a safer system in the future.

/ Planning long term

Review your environment and ask yourself questions. Your reporting system should identify where and when incidents happen, you can then reflect on this and improve by implementing tools or techniques accordingly. Are there recurring themes? Do you have areas which bottleneck when the space is busy?

Are there areas not covered by CCTV? What did staff tell you in their staff survey about when and how incidents occur? Do you have people who visit the business after everyone has left? (for example, early morning cleaners).

When entering or leaving, is this area well-lit and safe for a lone worker? Where is your cloakroom located? Are your staff safe in this environment. Can you get staff home safer with a paid-for taxi late at night?

Any feedback you receive should be acted on swiftly, including from staff, customers or city partners such as licencing officers, Pubwatch or the Avon and Somerset Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Think about all your spaces in the safety audit, both those available to the public, those for staff only, and those not in use (e.g., a secondary eventspace). Backstage areas, cloakrooms, ticket offices, storerooms should be considered, along with public-facing amenities such as smoking areas and all toilets.

Consider applying for funding for any long-term infrastructure improvements that the buildingneeds to make, for example through the ArtsCouncil grassroots music fund.

  • Check that all CCTV and lighting is functioning correctly
  • Assess your provision of accessible, single cell all-gender and single sex bathrooms
  • Conduct or commission a Safety and Access audit of your buildings and spaces and publish the findings online and in a printed form. For example, the venue hotspot map below can be used to identify areas that require improved safety measures
  • Attend meetings with the local Avon and Somerset Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.

/ Venue hotspot map

Use a floor plan of your space(s) to generate a visual representation of where incidents occur. This should be used in pre/postevent briefings, to highlight areas requiring additional observation.

The map should be regularly updated, based on incidents reported, and used to influence further mitigation techniques. The map can also be utilised for all night safety issues and the prevention of crime, such as Drink Spiking, Violent Incidents, or Harm Reduction.

Grade incidents on their frequency, severity, or likelihood to happen. Use this to inform your safety planning, as you would with a written risk assessment.

You may have several versions of your hotspot map, if the layout of your space(s) changes depending on the type of event or activity taking place (for example, soundsystem position creating hidden areas).